Lindy West

First this happened:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtUb_E1qUHA

Then this happened:

http://jezebel.com/if-comedy-has-no-lady-problem-why-am-i-getting-so-many-511214385

That is absolutely disgusting.  To think that people would even consider saying things like that to someone simply because she expressed an opinion just makes me so angry.  To think that people like that even exist and seem to have no qualms about posting these things on the internet for everyone to see goes to show the type of society that we live in.

Well, I’m not here to tell people to be angry, hopefully just from clicking on those 2 links, you already are.

I’m here to show my support for Lindy West.  I’m here to support her fight.  There will always be jerks in the world trying to keep others down, but that just means we have to join together and fight even harder.

Lindy West, I’m proud of you.  I’m proud of the stance you’re taking and the strength it took to take it.  Always remember, you’ve got people on your side.

I’m Back!

Wow, has it really been 4 months?  Where have I been?  Sorry about the huge delay, between December and January, I both moved and got a new job, so my whole life was thrown out of sorts, and I’m finally getting some of my bearings back.  So where did I leave off?  Oh yes, I was going to discuss some of the ways that patriarchy is bad news for men as well as women.  In my last entry I was discussing the song Bait a Hook and how it says that the other man basically does not deserve love because he’s not a “backwoods boy” and, as the line in the song says, “He can’t even bait a hook.”  So that was one negative effect of patriarchy on men, the fact that they are molded into the macho stereotype, and if they vary from that, they are looked down on, considered less than a man, and called a woman as an insult.

Another way that men suffer from patriarchy is, thankfully, a topic that is becoming much more widespread and opening up a lot of questions, and it actually is having a positive impact on women’s struggles as well.  When people talk about how women shouldn’t “dress like sluts” because they’re going to get raped, they’re insulting men just as much, if not more, than women.  The idea that what a woman wears causes her to get raped is implying that men have absolutely no control over what they do and how they act, and frankly, if I were a man, I’d be very upset by that.  You are saying that as soon as a woman puts on a short skirt or shows any sort of cleavage at all, men cease to be human beings and turn into either animals completely driven by instinct or possessed by a demon of lust that takes over and controls their every move.

The fact is, saying that women get raped because they’re dressed like a slut is not criticizing women at all.  It’s completely and totally insulting to men, however.  I was never aware that men lose all control over who they are if I show any skin, so I wonder if they are aware of it.  Are they still aware of what’s happening when the Lust-Demon takes over, or do they just wake up to reality hours later not knowing what they’ve done or where they’ve gone.

If, however, there are men out there who can take action and defeat the Lust-Demon, then good for you, guys!  Apparently, not everybody has that power.  For those of us who are not subject to the Lust-Demon, but can see the problem, we still need to keep fighting.  We need to continue this battle against the overpowering Lust-Demon, along with the one who lords over him, the Devil of Patriarchy.

Because that guy…he’s a real asshole.

Rape in Rocky Horror

Some people call me weird.  This could be for many reasons, but one of the reasons I’ve heard multiple times is that I get up on stage, dance in a corset, and do the infamous Time Warp in my Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast.  While many people call me weird for this, I don’t care one bit.  It’s one of the highlights of my current life.  I have met, and continue to meet some truly amazing people through this, it got me far out of the comfort zone I used to hide in, and on top of all that, it’s just a lot of fun!

Other than the weirdness factor, though, there is another issue that has come up occasionally when I discuss this with people, and that’s the subject of rape in the film.  If you haven’t seen the movie, let me give a slight summary of the scenes I am referring to.  There are 2 scenes that go basically the same way.  The man enters the bedroom of the girl or guy, dressed as their fiancée.  Things start getting heated up, girl/guy pulls the wig off, realizes who it is, freaks out, and the man then coerces them each into having sex with him anyway.  I have heard people talk about how they didn’t like the movie or they didn’t like that I participate in it because of that.

Let me first say that I am in no way trying to justify it or say that this is ok, but I do not think that it ruins the movie or the experience of going to see the show.  The man in these scenes is a sick, twisted, demented man who experimented with people’s brains, killed a man because of petty jealousy, and then later fed that murdered man to the rest of the people.  This is obviously not someone of sane mind.

There are a million reasons to love this movie and the show: the music, the costumes, the chance to get up and dance, or shout things out, or throw things in a movie theater, and the overall frivolity and sexiness of it all.  This show has everything!

In case you have never been to a live shadowcast of this movie, let me tell you a little bit about it, so that I don’t just sound like a raving lunatic.  A shadowcast is where the movie plays on the big screen at the theater, and a group of performers act it out along with the movie, and basically shadow it.  One of the other things that happens at one of these shows is audience participation.  The audience can dance along with the Time Warp, which is probably the most well-known song from the movie and has a specific dance that goes with it, the audience can also shout things out whenever they want, whether it’s something that’s a traditional “callback” or just whatever they feel like shouting, there are opportunities to throw different props or use different noisemakers during the show.  The audience can dress up in costumes if they so choose, or they can just come as they are.  It’s a great chance to get out with your friends and let loose for the night.

Now, I’d like to take a minute to dip into the sappy reason to love this movie.  One of the songs, and one of the main themes of the movie is “Don’t dream it, be it.”  No matter how old you are or what stage of your life you’re in, this is a great motto to live by.  You don’t have to settle for whatever you might think you’re stuck in.  If there’s something you have a dream of doing, just do it.  If there’s somebody you want to be, just be it.  Many people get into this phenomenon as a teenager or young adult, and this is the perfect time for them to hear and remember something like this.  But it doesn’t have to just be for teenagers.  From children to seniors, everybody can hear this message and take something valuable away from it.

So, while there may be a few points in this movie that I don’t agree with and that I have struggled with, there are also plenty of good aspects of the movie and the live show, and I highly recommend not letting the bad ruin the entire experience for you.

I would like to see what other people have to say about this subject, and if you haven’t already seen the show, I definitely recommend doing so.

Reflections on SlutWalk Chicago 2012

“Yes means yes!  No means no!  Whatever you wear, wherever you go!”

This was just one of the chants we shouted today at SlutWalk Chicago 2012.  It was an unbelievably powerful experience.  I met some amazing people, and even though there’s about a 95-99% chance I’ll never see these people again, we laughed together, cried together, and shared stories.  The strength of the women around me was absolutely profound.

But enough of the sappiness, let’s get to the highlights!

It wasn’t just women!  There were plenty of men there who joined in supporting the cause.  One of the speakers was a man from Rape Victim Advocates, who was absolutely stunned that his views on gender equality, women’s rights, and blaming rape on the rapist were seen as radical.  There were men dressed as sluts, men holding signs that said “Real Men Don’t Rape!”  Just the fact that it’s not just women saying this made a huge deal to me.

It wasn’t just young people!  I was expecting it to be pretty much all young, college aged people.  Pardon me for stereotyping, but I was expecting so many of the typical “activists.”  It’s good to see that there are so many different people on so many different walks of life that are standing up and saying “This isn’t right!”

So many different opinions!  Even though we were all there fighting for the same thing, there were so many people there fighting for different subtopics, and many of them didn’t agree at all.  There were people there protesting rape and there were people there wearing the Playboy Bunny.  There were people there both for and against polygamy.  There were people there both for and against sex workers.   But the great thing about all of it is that while everybody was expressing their opinions, nobody was bashing each other or their opinions.  Even with the differences of age, gender, opinion, there was an outstanding feeling of solidarity.

The speakers!  I loved the diversity of speakers they had.  As I said before, there was a man from Rape Victim Advocates, there was a woman who was a sex worker, there was a woman speaking on behalf of the trans community, there was a woman talking about S&M, there was even a comedian.

My favorite though, definitely has to go to Sandy Gonzalez.  This woman got up to speak wearing clothing similar to what a child would wear, and then stripped that off and was wearing a little black dress, asking which one was “asking for it more.”  She then proceeded to tell her survivor’s tale of being raped as a child.  She yelled at the Toronto police officer who said to avoid getting raped, women shouldn’t dress like sluts, otherwise known as the statement that started it all, asking if a 5-year-old is being a slut when she’s sexually abused.  She held up a picture of a 5-month-old baby who was raped and beaten to death by her father and uncle, asking if the baby was being a slut.  She started to get choked up in the middle, and as I looked around, I saw plenty of people in the audience wiping away tears as well.  At the end, she was the only speaker who got a standing ovation, and let me tell you, it was well deserved.

Overall, it was just an amazing and powerful day.

Never fear though, this day is not the end of it.  Even if I’m not going to a rally downtown, I will continue to fight.  So what are you waiting for?  Join me!

By the way, I’m still working on the pictures I took from the event, I should be able to get those up soon.

SlutWalk Chicago

Image

There is no question what I will be doing on Saturday.  Recently, I found out about the phenomenon known as Slutwalks, and am very happy that I discovered it before Slutwalk Chicago took place.  So yes, this Saturday, I will be Downtown, Chicago, participating in this powerful event, walking alongside my fellow people who share the same passion and values, listening to what promises to be some wonderful speeches,and getting the word out as much as possible about this great flaw in society.

So, if you are in or anywhere near the Chicago area, please join me on Saturday for this great event.  It begins at 11:00am at Thompson Center, from there we will walk to Daley Plaza to listen to the speakers, and the day ends at 3:00pm.  I am very much looking forward to this, and I hope all of you are too!  Let me know if you have any questions, and I hope to see as many people there as possible!

Also, here is the facebook event page for further details: http://www.facebook.com/events/356219161132288/

I will also be posting photos of the event, probably Saturday night or Sunday.

You Call That Luck?

Luck comes in many shapes and sizes.  Sometimes you find a penny on the ground, sometimes you get into a fender bender with someone who turns out to be the love of your life.  It’s those pleasant little surprises that happen along the way by chance, and they can turn a frown into a smile, or even just make your bad day a little less bad.

Now that that’s established, let me just say this: having adjusted the way you live your life because of horrible experiences is not luck.

Allow me to explain.  Recently, I stumbled across a blog devoted to testimonials of girls and women who have been the victims of sexual assault and rape entitled Patriarchy Survivor, and so far there have been some incredibly powerful, tragic stories, but the one that caught my attention was this one: From Victim to Survivor.  The reason it caught my attention so strongly was in the word choice.

“Luckily I am almost always now in a state of almost paranoid hyper-awareness and ran before he could get me.”

This post was published about a week ago, and it’s been bothering me ever since.

How can this be considered luck?  Going through so many awful experiences and suffering from paranoia because of it is not luck.  It’s not even bad luck.  It’s tragic, horrid, devastating, heartbreaking, angering, sick, terrifying, any number of words, but luck?  No.  Not even close.

Maybe it was just a poor choice of words on the author’s part, but I don’t see how anyone could associate this with luck.  I don’t see how anyone could associate this with anything other than horror at the whole subject.

If anyone can give me a legitimate example of how rape and luck can be associated, I’m all ears, but until that day, I never want to see them in the same sentence ever again.