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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 18,186
Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 18,186
Think back to the last time you heard a hymen or a scrotum lovingly described. Have you ever? There’s a lamentably utilitarian slant to the way we talk about genitals these days. Our language might be clinical or obscene, but it’s rarely interesting or companionable; one rarely hears the hymen described as “the great Clove Gilly-flower when it is moderately blown” (as Helkiah Crooke did in 1615) or imagines the cervix the way 17th-century midwife Jane Sharp did, as “the head of a tench, or of a young kitten.” Our language for sex is impoverished, but so is our language for the relevant parts.
Things could be otherwise, and in 16th- and 17th-century England, they were: The anatomy books and midwifery guides of the period are rife with weird, creative, wonderful formulations for the reproductive organs. The key difference between then and now is that male and female genitals were imagined as identical parts, just somewhat rearranged. Jane Sharp — the midwife who sees young kittens in cervixes — puts it best, I think: “The Matrix is like the Yard turned inside outward, for the neck of the womb is as the Yard … and Stones are like the Cods, for the Cods turned in have a hollowness, and within the womb lie the Stones and seed vessels.” In other words, the vagina and uterus were basically an inside-out penis, with testes and ovaries reconfigured accordingly. (If that’s unclear, here’s an NSFW illustration of this account of the female reproductive system — its phallic qualities will be obvious.) That’s a major conceptual shift in what we talk about when we talk about sex. If you consider a vagina a penis turned inside out (rather than just a hole for a penis to fill), sex becomes symbolically different, and gender gets a lot more flexible. Men and women are no longer opposites — they become variations on a single gender.
Natural philosophy was coming into its own during this period: Andreas Vesalius published his definitive guide to human anatomy with its famously dramatic poses in Italy in 1543. The Royal Society was founded in 1660. All over Europe, curious pioneers were making observations, conducting experiments, and trying to generate not just explanations but metaphors that explained the relationship between nature and society — bees, for instance, were nature's argument for the monarchy as a system of government. Above all, though, the natural philosophers were trying to come up with a set of scientific best practices and reconcile new discoveries with classical wisdom.
The idea of men and women as inverted versions of each other — or warmer and cooler products of the same basic ingredients in the womb — dates back to the Greeks. That understanding of gender survived even as knowledge of anatomy increased, and its symbolic and cultural consequences in early modern England were huge. If men and women both had essentially the same parts, they both produced “seed.” If they both needed to achieve orgasm in order for that seed to be released and conception to occur, then female desire was essential to the human race. So was female pleasure, the pursuit of which formed a significant component of 16th- and 17th-century guides to anatomy and obstetrics. That logic shaped the cultural understanding of how sex worked. (It wasn’t until the 18th century, with the unhappy discovery that women could get pregnant while unconscious, that female pleasure fell out of our modern understanding of reproduction.)
Posted by ismnotwasm | Sat Sep 20, 2014, 12:35 PM (7 replies)
Two teen girls were found dead in Duval County, Florida and now, we wait for answers and the predictable lack of outrage from people who might typically deem a double murder to be cause for such.
According to local ABC affiliate WFST, the bodies of Angelia Mangum, 19, and Tjhisha Ball, 18 were spotted on the side of a road around 1 a.m. yesterday. The bodies were reportedly bound with zip ties and on top of one another.
The few reports about the story have cited the women’s criminal records (neither of which are worth mentioning here). Ball’s sister, Crystal Moore told ABC Action News that the two women were close friends and had been working in the Jacksonville area as exotic dancers.
Heartbreakingly, Ball’s mother Jerlean Moore told ABC "I feel like sometimes that I failed. What could I have done? What could I have taught her better?”
It isn’t unreasonable to expect for a grieving family to wish that their dead loved one hadn’t worked in the sex industry, one where women are often subject to increased abuse and harassment at the hands of clients, employers and law enforcement alike. Thus, there should be no judgment from any of us about Ball’s lament about her daughter’s work. But what I fear will happen here is a general sentiment
Read more at EBONY http://www.ebony.com/news-views/black-teen-girls-killed-but-do-you-care-403#ixzz3DoGvVpPd
Posted by ismnotwasm | Fri Sep 19, 2014, 08:08 PM (83 replies)
Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation on Thursday renewing a soon-to-expire program that helps local governments cut their backlogs of unexamined DNA evidence in rape cases.
The program, which was backed by Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder, provides federal grants to state and local law enforcement agencies so they can speed their analyses of untested evidence kits. Experts say many thousands of such kits are languishing in communities across the country, including some that are many years old.
The Debbie Smith Act is named after a woman who was taken from her home in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1989 and raped. It took years for the evidence in her case to be examined and her attacker caught. She and other supporters of the program have argued that such delays add further layers of fear and torment to their experiences.
The Senate used a voice vote Thursday to give final approval to the bipartisan bill. The measure was approved by the House in April, and it now goes to Obama for his signature.
The legislation renews the program through 2019. Without congressional action, the program would have expired
Well that was nice of them.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Fri Sep 19, 2014, 01:25 PM (7 replies)
When reigning pop queen Beyoncé Knowles stood, with the unshakeable self-assurance of a warrior, in front of a boldly lit, capital-lettered declaration of “FEMINIST” at the MTV Video Music Awards last month, the media responded with something approximating rapture. “The zeitgeist is irrefutably feminist: its name literally in bright lights,” wrote Jessica Valenti at The Guardian, while Amanda Marcotte at Slate argued that the singer had put paid to the idea that feminists are just “ugly wannabes” who “hate men” and children. The New Republic’s Rebecca Traister called the performance “one of the most powerful pop-culture messages of lifetime.”
The moment marked a crest in the current wave of popularity and recognition feminism has been enjoying in popular culture recently. Young celebrities from Lorde to Miley Cyrus to Taylor Swift have been eagerly claiming the label, while old school media like Cosmopolitan and Playboy have given themselves feminist makeovers. Beyoncé’s performance just made it official. Feminism is cool now: no longer the refuge of, as conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh once put it, women who had been excluded by “the mainstream of society,” but front and center of the mainstream itself—celebrated by queen bees, and Queen Beys.
The resurgence of the women’s movement over the past decade has been a product of two opposite but interrelated impulses. The first has been the explosion of feminist discussion in the blogosphere and on social media, which has sparked lively conversations around issues such as racial inequality, transgender rights, and the cultural factors that contribute to sexual assault. The second has been a concerted attempt to destigmatize feminism and make it more palatable, as exemplified by twin campaigns last year by UK women’s magazine Elle and New York-based media platform Vitamin W to “rebrand feminism.”
At first glance, these two developments seem starkly divided: one niche, complex and devoted to the development of new ideas, and the other populist and unthreatening, designed to appeal to the broadest audience possible. But they have more in common than you might think. It was the eruption of feminist conversation online that informed commercial publishers that there was money to be made from talking about gender. And the desire to popularize the women’s movement has been as much a motivator for parts of the feminist blogosphere as the development of a new set of feminist ethics.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Thu Sep 18, 2014, 08:56 AM (4 replies)
While I don’t expect the current slew of Pistorius biographies to turn up on GCSE reading lists in the near future, the use of terms such as “classic” and “tragic” – applied to Pistorius, not Steenkamp – horrifies me. It illustrates, if nothing else, the extent to which much of the literature we revere centres male subjectivity. Women die, yes, but this matters only in relation to how their death makes their killer feel. Women are expendable, not really there at all; it’s the man who’s left behind, making his excuses, expressing his remorse, despairing of his future, who gets all the attention. It is, we tell ourselves, intriguing; if slaughtered women didn’t exist, we’d have to invent them (and even though they do exist, in shocking numbers, we carry on inventing anyhow; you can never have too many plot devices).
It is for reasons like this that campaigns such as For Books’ Sake’s attempt to achieve greater diversity in GCSE English Literature specifications seem to me vitally important. We are drowning in stories that privilege the perspectives of white males; in spite of ourselves, we buy into the view that the world as they see it is all that there is (if Pistorius is “the only person who can say what his state of mind was,” does anything else matter?). I know there are arguments against demands for more female viewpoints: some of the most prolific crime writers are women; women write about women dying; not every female writer is a feminist by default. I know all this yet I still think it matters that women write, and that young people get to read women writing, whatever the subject matter. It matters because women have stories, too, and all too often ours get cut short. When narration is seen and experienced as male, so, too, is real life.
Whenever women ask for greater representation in politics or the arts, we are of course reminded that not all women are the same. We don’t have some monolithic shared experience so what could we have to offer that isn’t available already? If there’s no single definition of womanhood, then why should we care if most of time it is men who speak? But this is to miss the point. What matters is not that our stories are the same; it is that these stories are ours.
If we have a shared experience as women, it is that of not being seen as, and instead being defined by, men. And yet we are neither mirrors, nor props, nor decoration. We are not mere plot devices in the lives of self-styled tragic heroes; it is just our lot to be positioned that way. When members of the ANC Women’s League stood outside in the courts in protest at the Pistorius verdict, they knew that Reeva Steenkamp’s life – the life of a privileged white woman – had been nothing like their own. They still spoke for her, in sisterhood and solidarity. Steenkamp’s life was not emblematic of other women’s lives but her death, and the shoddy, shameful responses to it ever since, symbolise the low esteem in which all women’s lives are held simply by virtue of them not being the lives of men.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Tue Sep 16, 2014, 04:40 PM (4 replies)
An unprecedented transformation in the video game world is under way, and it's touching everyone, from players to developers to scholars and critics. Nowhere has that change been more apparent than at Seattle's recent Penny Arcade Expo, the largest consumer-facing video game convention in the country.
Over the last year, Penny Arcade has experienced some tension in its relationship with LGBT fans. In June of 2013, cofounder Mike Krahulik stunned some readers when he tweeted, "Heads up if you use the word 'cis' save yourself some time and don't bother tweeting at me." He was trying to shut down a detractor who objected to the omission of trans people from games, but his tweets only stirred up more controversy: "If thinking that all women have a vagina makes me a monster than yes I am a monster," he also wrote.
To be fair, Krahulik had never previously directed hostility toward queerness, and he responded with interest and concern when a trans woman working within his organization expressed her dismay.
Facing ongoing criticism, he gradually grew more contrite. "My reaction when I feel backed into corner is to be an asshole," he wrote a few days later. "It’s been that way since I was in elementary school. I’m 36 now. Maybe it’s finally time to try and let some of that shit go." He went on to donate $20,000 to the Trevor Project, adding, "I realize I was wrong and I’m genuinely sorry."
Posted by ismnotwasm | Mon Sep 15, 2014, 12:59 PM (1 replies)
Don't get us wrong, we like Banksy just fine. We followed his every move last year as he turned the entire city of New York into an outdoor exhibition. There are many reasons to love the anonymous street art king, from his social crusades to his innovative use of the internet as gallery space. He's just far from the only street artist to be utilizing these tools, even on a massive scale, reports Huffingtonpost.
Last month The Guardian covered Bambi, a woman street artist they dubbed "the female Banksy." However, after looking at Bambi's portfolio, comprised mostly of renderings of celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Amy Winehouse and Cara Delevingne, we have to say, we can do better. Just because Bambi sounds (sort of) like Banksy, doesn't mean she's the automatic heir to the street art throne.
On that note, allow us to introduce 10 badass female artists we'd choose over Banksy any day.
2. Miss Van
3. Clare Rojas
4. Lady Pink
7. Lady Aiko
( I'm a big fan of street art)
Posted by ismnotwasm | Mon Sep 15, 2014, 03:19 AM (14 replies)
Read the comments. While I have sympathy for this gentleman, I don't think he understands the whole picture. Ahem.
He prescribed a medicine to help me with my symptoms. I can't remember the name, but I know it belonged to a class of medicines called Alpha Blockers.
“One thing about this medicine,” the doctor said as he typed the prescription into the computer. “There's a chance it can cause retrograde ejaculation.”
“Um...what?” I asked. I obviously knew what ejaculation meant but “retrograde” could've meant anything.
“Dry orgasms. No seminal fluid,” he said. In more specific terms, retrograde ejaculation is when semen gets sent into the bladder rather than out into a sock, condom, or, if you're lucky, a crevasse belonging to your significant other.
I was weirded out but he said there was only a chance, right? So that meant there was a chance it didn't cause retrograde ejaculation.
This pathetic bit of self delusion lasted until my first jerk-off session on the medicine. I felt the familiar build-up of pleasure and tension (I call it plension) and then... nothing. Not only was there no semen, there was no electric rush, no hip-bucking, and no release.
Posted by ismnotwasm | Sun Sep 14, 2014, 04:55 PM (4 replies)
Posted by ismnotwasm | Sat Sep 13, 2014, 05:43 PM (6 replies)