Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Calvin Klein sexist advertisement asks, "Do you want to see my dick?"

I've learned that there is a Calvin Klein commercial floating around in which muscular men in Calvin Klein underwear are posing the question, "Do you want to see my dick?" In addition to the commercial the printed version is being displayed in "mens magazines".

The ad suggests not only that the audience should be attracted to men of this physical type but it also exploits men. I do not appreciate sexism no matter which gender it's aimed towards. So, while many of my posts may focus on sexists attitudes towards women, I also take issue with sexist attitudes towards men.

It is my view that throughout history the phallus has been praised and esteemed beyond reasonable measure. I believe that there is a distinct difference between accepting and embracing one's penis as another beautiful, humble, vulnerable, silly, body part and viewing it as a God like object.

Unfortunately, in our culture the penis is often viewed by women and men alike as a power symbol or tool. Men often link their self-esteem to the size of their penises and may even express a certain level of machismo depending on their penis size.

To ask, "Do you want to see my dick?" in such a cocky (no pun intended) attitude is to assume that women and men alike are in a state of willingness or eagerness.

It is no secret that sex sells, nor is it a secret that advertising companies will beat the dead horse until they can bring it to life again. But let us not become so accustomed to the exploitation that we ignore it or celebrate it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back Up Your Birth Control

All the below information is from the EC website. To go directly to the website go to www.backupyourbirthcontrol.org. To find them on facebook click here.


Emergency contraception (EC) is a back-up birth control method, as opposed to a regular birth control method like condoms, hormonal contraception, IUD placement, etc.

  • EC, sometimes also known as the "morning after pill,", is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy AFTER unprotected sex or the failure of other birth control methods.
  • EC is a higher dosage of the same hormones found in many types of regular birth control pills.
  • When used within 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected sex or birth control failure, EC can significantly reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy. EC is most effective when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex or the failure of other birth control methods. So don't wait!
  • EC is NOT the "abortion pill," MifeprexTM(mifepristone) or RU-486. EC will not terminate an existing pregnancy. EC will not work if a woman is already pregnant and EC will not cause birth defects if a woman takes it when she is already pregnant. EC will not affect a woman's chance of becoming pregnant in the future.
  • For women and men who are 17 or older and have identification, EC is available over-the-counter at pharmacies under the brand names Plan B® One-Step and Next ChoiceTM. Young women under 17 still need a prescription from a doctor or other health care provider in order to buy EC at the pharmacy, except in a few states which have special pharmacy access legislation. Women who live in AK, CA, HI, MA, ME, NH, NM, VT and WA, can get EC directly from a local pharmacy regardless of their age.


EC, sold under the brand names Plan B® One-Step and Next ChoiceTM, is now available without a prescription for women and men age 17 and older at pharmacies across the United States!
If you are 17 or older and have government-issued ID (driver's license, state ID, passport, green card, etc.), you can buy EC over-the-counter at pharmacies, where it is sold under the brand names Plan B® One-Step and Next ChoiceTM. The cost of Plan B® One-Step ranges between $35-60. The cost of the generic Next ChoiceTM averages 10-20% less at $30-55. Emergency contraception is kept behind-the-counter so you will need to ask the pharmacist for a pack and present your identification in order to obtain it. To find a pharmacy where you can get EC, visit Plan B® One-Step's Pharmacy Locator.

How can I obtain EC if I'm under 17?
Young women under 17 still need a prescription from a doctor or other health care provider in order to buy EC at the pharmacy, except in a few states which have special pharmacy access legislation. Women who live in AK, CA, HI, MA, ME, NH, NM, VT and WA, can get EC directly from a local pharmacy regardless of their age.

Remember, the sooner you take EC the better it works. So if you're under 17 and need to get a prescription for EC, contact your health care provider's office right away. Some providers might ask you to come in for a visit, while others might be able to call in a prescription for you. If you don't have a health care provider, visit the Emergency Contraception website: www.not-2-late.com (also available in Spanish, French or Arabic).

How can I find an EC provider near me? What if I don't have a government issued ID proving my age? What if I can't afford the price of a pack of EC?
Don't worry - you can still get emergency contraception! To find an EC provider near you, many of whom can help you access low-cost or even free EC, visit the Emergency Contraception website.

For more information on why EC is kept "behind-the-counter" and advocacy efforts to make EC truly available over-the-counter, read our EC Behind-the-Counter Fact Sheet.

Machines for Living by Onkar Kular

Machines For Living (2002-2004) by Onkar Kular

A series of objects which investigate the banal rituals of the everyday and aim to challenge our perception of individual perfection. Could we live with these objects on a day-to-day basis? At what point do the objects become less about psychological comfort and more about obsession.


Pantone Mugs
A range of 128 shades of tea colored mugs.

128 Mugs
Installation at the Kunsthal Museum, Rotterdam.



Pantone Tea Chart
For use in office tearooms.

Design: APFEL

Biography from OK website

Onkar Kular’s work centers around the use of design as a medium to engage with social, cultural and popular issues. From the quest for domestic perfection to celebrity obsession, from reality football simulations to baking super functional bread, his practice ranges freely across media, each work taking the form appropriate to the idea, whether it be proposals for new objects, short films, events, performances and installations. His work has been exhibited internationally in London, Tokyo, Jerusalem, Rotterdam and Barnsley. Onkar teaches at the Royal College of Art and the London Metropolitan University.

To view more art by Kular go to www.onkarkular.com

Why Kink and BDSM is simply patriarchy in the bedroom


Last night an acquaintance of mine directed me towards a website that promotes sex toys along with a posted gallery of bois (bois is the plural of boi. A boi is usually a lesbian female who indentifies as "butch" or a younger female who acts like a stereotypical heterosexual male. Of course every boi has their own take on this identification) in pornographic positions.

I have no problem with sex toys although as a feminist woman I do take great issue with pornography (I am aware that there is a large sect of feminists who are pro-pornography).

The reason my acquaintance directed me towards this particular website is because a former college friend of mine created the website and is also featured in it. I will protect her privacy and do not intend to mention her name or feature the name of the website here.

My greater point is that as I viewed the website I began to think about the kink community on a larger scale. The bois featured on the website were all advocates of kink practice or play and as I read their bios along side their photos I read their personal statements about their favorite sexual scenarios and practices.

A knot in my stomach developed and a sense of sadness overcame me as I read descriptions which varied from "hitting", "bullying", "choking", and "knife play". I read statements such as "I want someone I can kick the shit out of and fuck at the same time" and "I want a girly girl to look at me and be like 'just fuck me'".

Granted this is one website and one group of women making these statements. However, this isn't the first time I've heard individuals whether they be gay or straight make such comments. The kinds of sentiments exist within and outside of the kink/bondage scene.

My question is why is that for some, violence, aggression and humiliation are desired within sex? I understand that sex is different for everyone and everyone has their own ideas, tastes and desires. One might argue that there should be no limit to sexual notions. My argument is that dominance in sex equates to sexism and patriarchy. This is not healthy and therefore the concept becomes dangerous.

Dominance in the bedroom does not only equate to extremes such as rape. But in heterosexual sexual relationships often exists a concept where the man in considered to be dominant and the woman submissive. Even if this concept is not mentioned out loud or specified when the relationship begins there seems to be an unsaid rule that whatever body part penetrates is considered dominant and whatever body part envelopes is considered submissive.

Straight men and women alike have been accepting this notion for a very long time. It is a concept that terrifies me. Why does it bother me so? Because it strips away complete respect for the relationship and each other as people. It takes away the idea that sex is something that two people do together rather that something one person does to another.

When two people believe that they are both as vulnerable as the other and both are taking a chance emotionally and physically then there is no room for inflated egos to take hold. There is no question as to whether one respects the other. There is no room for dominance but rather equal partnership. To some this concept may be considered "boring" or "vanilla". For myself this concept is spiritual, loving, respectful and one that offers an opportunity for growth.

In the LGBTQI community some carry out sexual roles such as "bottom" or "top". This usually means that one person prefers to dominate or take over most of the work so to speak while the bottom will be submissive and allow the top to manipulate the activity.

In my mind this is just a copy cat of stereotypical gender roles. It again, takes away from two people engaging mutually but rather one person dominating the other.

While some might argue that if two (or more) consenting adults are engaging in this behavior and this is what they enjoy what is the harm? Who am I to tell someone else how to conduct their sex lives?

While this sounds like a valid argument I must again remind that there is a danger in viewing another as more or less than they are even if it's just considered play or pretend.

While some may argue that the person who plays the dominant role whether they be heterosexual or homosexual may claim to respect the person who they are dominating, I must argue that the very fact that one is portraying themselves as dominant over another is sexist and violent.

And getting back to the more specific acts of hitting, choking, bullying etc. BDSM is quite different from passion in the bedroom. It is not simply two people eager in the throws of their desire it becomes something differently entirely.

If a person becomes aroused by watching someone be hit or even enjoys being hit in the bedroom themselves, it is my belief that this behavior skews one's view of intimacy over time. It may also skew one's view of common respect outside of the bedroom. Power and control are often concepts that are sexualized when one is insecure with themselves. How many times have you heard someone utter the words "they just need to get laid"? How often have you heard some state in anger that they'd like to "fuck" someone and that that person would be "begging for more?"

I think there is enough violence in the world (especially against women) and even if we mask it with the words "play" or "kink" or "BDSM" I think consensual violence is still violence. Lots of people willingly engage in behavior that is unhealthy and I think that physical, sexual, emotional and verbal, aggression; humiliation; dominance and violence in the bedroom are prime examples.

Let's even examine the word "fuck". Why use the word fuck rather than "sex", "make love", etc? Because to "fuck", to be "fucked" or to engage in "fucking" is not to have sex with it is to do something to someone else or to have something done to you. It is to engage in something that is devoid of much romantic sentiment.

Sometimes this is exactly what people want. Again, sex is many things to many people. Some want it down and dirty and don't want to waste time with anything else. Perhaps they save the sentimental stuff for people whom they actually love.

While everyone is able to make a free choice when it comes to sex I would like to suggest that we all take a moment and think about what sex means to us. If we understand that we do not wish to exploit the ones we love, we do not wish to bring upon emotional harm or humiliation to those we love, then how is their room for dominance anywhere else? What is it about a person we don't love that makes it okay to humiliate and dominate? Or does this notion say something about ourselves?

Why is respectful sex too vanilla for some? Why is kink and BDSM considered to be the next alternative? To be honest I think that kink and BDSM is just an extension of what is already in place for so many. One does not need to be a part of the kink or BDSM community in order to practice patriarchy in the bedroom. It exists when one thinks that they create another person's pleasure rather than two people creating pleasure together. It exists when two people believe it is up to one person in particular to initiate sex. It exists when one's ego inflates when they think they have caused another to moan in pleasure rather than that moan coming out of something two have done together. It exists when sex is taken for granted rather than shared and explored out of mutual admirance for each other's personality, histories and uniqueness.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

7 years later let us honor Rachel Corrie AND the nameless

Photo courtesy of moummh

March 16th, marked seven years after then 23-year old American Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli military bulldozer while trying to block the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip of Rafah.

An college friend of mine Joe Carr was traveling with Corrie at the time and witnessed the horror. Below Joe sings his tribute to Rachel Corrie.

Seven Years after her killing Joe Carr performed "Dove's Last Song" for Rachel Corrie at Resistencia Book Store in Austin, Texas on 3/16/10

Each year since Corrie's death, during the month March there have been events honoring her. There has been a stage play based on her journal entries and emails, My Name is Rachel Corrie; a memorial book of her writings, Let Me Stand Alone; a non-profit organization founded in her name, The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice; and the documentary film Rachel.

While I think it is important that we acknowledge Rachel Corrie I think there are many whom are forgotten or not acknowledged at all. It may be impossible to be aware even through research of all those who have fallen in the name of peace and justice however I find it important to understand that the victims Rachel was attempting to speak for still exist.

So, let us honor Rachel Corrie but let us honor the nameless.

Lady Gaga's "Telephone" music video reeks of product placement

Lady Gaga's new 9 minute video for her song "Telephone" (featuring Beyonce) has a lot of people talking. I myself find the video to be quite creative. While I do have my own criticisms one of them in particular is the fact that there is so much product placement within it.

At 1:34 Heartbeats Headphones appears and Chanel at 2:17.

Virgin Mobile - A phone is snatched from a woman in a prison yard (2:07)

Diet Coke - Cans are used as rollers in Lady Gaga's hair (2:22)

Wonder Bread & Miracle Whip
- Those are the magic ingredients in sandwiches made by Gaga (6:35)

Polaroid - A camera is used to photograph Beyonce (5:45) (Gaga is Polaroid's creative director and inventor of specialty products after inking a deal with the brand in January, 2010)

(4:27), and Hewlett Packard (4:24)

Lady Gaga's manager, Troy Carter, told Ad Age magazine that Diet Coke and Wonder Bread, did not pay to be featured in the video however Miracle Whip did offer some funds for the video. Virgin Mobile, Heartbeats, Polaroid, and Hewlett Packard placements were technically unpaid, as they were extensions of Lady Gaga's existing marketing partnerships. Plenty Of Fish VP Kimberly Kaplan told Ad Age magazine that the dating site made into the video via an ongoing partnership with Gaga's label, Interscope Records.

"If Michael Jackson was making 'Thriller' [today], he would do this too," stated Troy Carter. He further stated that, "These million-dollar music videos have to have partners to be produced."

Is this the truth? It just smells of stinky greed if you ask me. I don't see how these products have anything to do with art and creativity.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

weather is mine today

(by lienhard schultz)

"I got the wind right here in a jar. I got the rain on tap at the bar"
~"Persephone" played by Ani Difranco on Anais Mitchell's album Hadestown

Introverts. Are we shy? Innocent? Naive? Nope!

It continues to occur to me that that introverts are viewed as anything but "normal." Are their truly more extroverts than introverts or is it just that extroverts receive more positive attention? It is my belief that extroverts are more so rewarded socially, in the job market and in the media.
I do not find myself envious but this has been my observation.

It has also been my observation that introversion is often viewed as a weakness, as a lesser preferred personality type, as naive, innocent or shy.

In regards to the shy/innocence comparison Louis A. Schmidt, director of the Child Emotion Laboratory at McMaster University has stated, "Though in popular media they're often viewed as the same, we know in the scientific community that, conceptually or empirically, they're unrelated".

Schmidt and Arnold H. Buss of the University of Texas wrote a chapter titled "Understanding Shyness" for their book The Development of Shyness and Social Withdrawal. They write, "Sociability refers to the motive, strong or weak, of wanting to be with others, whereas shyness refers to behavior when with others, inhibited or uninhibited, as well as feelings of tension and discomfort."

Psychology Today blogger Sophia Dembling states in a recent blog post that the "differentiation between motivation and behavior is consistent with the ability many of us have to behave like extroverts when we choose, whereas shy people cannot turn their shyness off and on."

Dembling goes on to say, "So someone who is introverted and shy will behave differently from someone who is introverted and not shy, who will behave differently from someone who is extroverted and shy, who will behave differently from someone who is extroverted and not shy. These distinctions help explain the range of behaviors and emotions people describe in the comments on this blog-some people sound bold, some timid, some are comfortable with their attitudes towards socializing, some long to be different."

Just recently I read a post on Psychology Today online (which I often find to be too much of a pop-psych magazine) which suggests that introverts who prefer meaningful conversations to idle chit chat may be happier and more content.

The article goes on to say that this does not mean that extroverts who appreciate chit chat are not content but it research suggests that deeper conversations and socialization often brings forth greater satisfaction.


It's not too surprising of a conclusion and it is not as if extroverts are incapable of meaningful conversation.

I just suggest to those who find discomfort when encountering an introvert just know that we prefer one to one conversation rather than group cheery chit chat.

If we are not outgoing it does not mean we are shy, if we are not quite as loud we are not innocent, and if we choose not to comment on something we are not interested in we are not naive.

As an introvert myself I can say that when I am within a group I may not feel the need to voice my opinion as I already know how I feel. I may not feel the need to laugh out loud even if I am mildly amused on the inside. I may not feel the need to chime in as the sentiments have already been expressed.

Do I always present this way? No. But it is all about the amount of energy I feel comfortable extolling. This may seem rather fussy but understand that introverts gain energy from one on one interactions more so than group interactions. Extroverts are often the exact opposite.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

tea every day


"Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one."
~(Ancient Chinese proverb)

sip with nymphs


"Soft yielding Minds to Water glide away, / And sip, with Nymphs, their elemental Tea."
~Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (canto I)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

underwater delights from elena kalis

To view more glorious pieces visit Elena Kalis at her website at www.elenakalisphoto.com.







birdnest for humans

I wish I had a space big enough to place this. I would love to sleep or rest in this from a high building so I could have a view just as birds do.

from oge-gallery.com

This giant birdnest was designed by Merav Eitan and Gaston Zahr as part of the Green Garden Exhibition, part of the openning event of O*GE Gallery in April 2008.

Underwater photography by Elena Kalis

Alice in Wonderland series by Elena Kalis. To view more from this series and other pieces visit Kalis's website at www.elenakalisphoto.com or visit her facebook page.

tea with alice

Photo credit: Elena Kelis
"High Tea"

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.
Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what
it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it
wouldn't be, it would.

You see?

~Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll

6 impossible things before breakfast

Photo credit:
persisting stars. Originally posted on ashley lauren cheney

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

~Alice's Adventure In Wonderland 1865 by Lewis Caroll

Saturday, March 6, 2010

peaches n' cream tea


Peaches! Peaches! Get yer Peeeaches!

One of my favorite fruits and I have finally found peach tea. Now this may seem like something that is not difficult to get a hold of but you'd be surprised.


I have been looking for plain peach tea but have only found peach combinations. I've mostly run into peach and ginger teas and I cannot stand ginger. I've found peach and mango and even though mango is another favorite fruit of mine I just wanted simple peach.


I finally found plain peach tea from Celestial Seasonings. I've never used this brand of tea before and for whatever reasons considered the brand to be inferior tea. Am I becoming a tea snob? Hmm. I won't dwell on that too much.


I now would like to try Celestial Seasoning's Imperial White Peach tea. Sounds good.

(from wednesday chef)

I decided to put some creamer in my tea tonight and whala! Peaches n' cream tea.