Tag Archives: National Organization of Women

Loving My Body One Orgasm At A Time

* October 19th the National Organization of Women celebrates Love Your Body Day. This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.

When I was a freshman in college we had a “love your body day” presentation by a campus group. They posed the question “What do you love about your body?” Answers ranged from “my eyes” to “my biceps” to “the whole package” but almost all were in reference to what the individual found physically appealing about his or her body.

The coordinators then rephrased the questions and asked, “What do you love about what your body can do?” This took markedly more time. Answers ranged from “running 5 miles” to “laying down those sweet dance moves.” I think I said something about being able to walk up the 850 ft monstrous hill on campus everyday and thus avoiding the #80 bus.

But this was a cop out answer. Yes I am thankful I have legs that can carry me up a hill. Yes I love that my body is physically able. But what I love, what I really really just LOVE, is my body’s ability to orgasm.

Shockingly (or I guess not so shockingly given college freshman’s inability to talk about sex despite having vast indiscriminate amounts of it) no one in my group mentioned the big O or even thanked their hands for the effort on everyone’s 5-digit favorite pass time.

Our media is saturated with images of airbrushed cleavage, thigh and ass of just barley legal girls (not to mention the occasional side boob or crotch shot of a celebrity from overpaid, under scrupled paparazzi). They all reek of objectivity and over sexualization of women. Justifiably the counter culture screams of the injustice and points to all the other wonderful abilities of a woman’s body, to run, to be mobile, to be powerful, to be untraditionally beautiful.

Although a woman’s body is all of these things, it is also a cleavage, thigh and ass. And when it is appreciated fully for its ability to run, jump, skip and be beautiful, and perhaps touched in right combination either manually or with a partner’s generous help, a woman’s body is also sexy.

It is a fact we should not try to overlook on Love Your Body Day because it is an essential part of our bodies. Young girls are being taught via modern media how to look sexy, how to act sexy, how to squirm and moan sexy and how to sex sexy. They are not being taught how to actually experiment, explore or enjoy their sexy.

By only talking about the unsexy parts of the body, we are doing a disservice to young women. We are creating varsity soccer captains, student council presidents and Model UN representatives, who love their bodies and brains but wear ass-cheek revealing booty shorts with the words “sweetie” across the butt because a movie told them this is “sexy;” because no one told them part of loving your body is loving your own way of being sexy which usually does not include shorts with descriptive words scrawled across one’s backside.

I’m on a bit of a pedestal here but I’m going to preach it out while I have your attention. If we are ever going to truly teach girls how to love their bodies we are going to have to stop avoiding the sexy and start redefining it.

Sexy is not airbrushed nipples; it is not a series of carefully orchestrated positions in the best possible lighting followed by simultaneous orgasms; it not one image and it is not easy to define. Sexy is something we need to start talking about especially with our young women and men whose bodies, in addition to being beautiful and lovely, are also at their root horny sexy masses of energy. Let’s not ignore that fact; let’s metaphorically embrace it, and start talking about what sexy really means.

To me on this cold Chicago night, it is probably coming in the form of one of seven delightful speeds…

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Filed under Feminist Rant, Sex

Give Your Voice a Choice Event: 8/25 Heartland Cafe

I’m MCing an awesome event tomorrow night called Give Your Voice a Choice. Mostly as a shameless plug for the event but also because I think it’s worth sharing, I’ve included my introduction and my story of choice below. The event is 6 to 9 at Heartland Cafe and more deets can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=106511572779697

“The event tonight is about choice. Not just choice as it is defined redundantly in the media in the battle over abortion, but the broader choices everyone faces when dealing with reproduction. From deciding to tie your tubes at 30 to deciding to have a child at 40 to deciding to end an unplanned pregnancy, from abstinence to monogamy to the Kama sutra, from condoms to IEDs to that weird ring thing, we all make choices regarding our reproduction. Yet we often feel alone in our struggles, dilemmas and ultimate choices.

The Chicago Chapter of the National Organization of Women is thrilled to bring together members of the community as well as local musicians to talk about choice and bring together our voices.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed at the door. If you would still like to contribute please feel free to come up to the table and pick up a brochure and make a contribution. All the proceeds tonight will go to benefit the Chicago Abortion Fund, who provides financial assistance to low-income women wishing to end their unplanned pregnancies. You can read more about the fund including their participants’ stories at www.chicagoabortionfund.com.

We would also like to thank our three musicians tonight who will be donating their time and talent including Anne-Marie Akin, Gabrielle Schafer, & Glad Fanny. They also have CDS and merchandise for sale at the table.

Also we would like to give a big thank you to all of our speakers who agreed to share their stories.  We are lucky enough tonight to have Terry Cosgrove from Planned Parenthood as well as Representative Kelly Cassidy here, as well as many other members of the community. If you have not already signed up to tell a story but wish to do so, there is a sign up sheet at the table and there will be time in the middle of the event for volunteer speakers.

To kick off the night, I’m going to share some facts and figures with you.

After sitting on my shelf for more than a year, I am finally reading “Half the Sky.”

The book gives quite a few scary facts about the state of women in the 21st century especially regarding maternal health.

Some of the most shocking to me were that there is one maternal death every minute and for every death at least ten other women suffer significant injuries such as fistulas or serious tearing.

Additionally unsafe abortions cause the deaths of seventy thousand women annually and cause serious injuries to another 5 million. Five Million Women.

 

That is big number. So large in fact that we tend to not be able to grasp it and it rolls into our heads with all the other horrible atrocities of the 21st century.

Scientists have proven that facts, numbers and “objective” figures when dealing with humanitarian issues don’t trigger our consciences or pull at our heartstrings. Stories do. Connecting with an individual story evokes the compassion needed for greater humanity in the world.

So with that in mind, I’m going to tell my story.

My senior year in college I went to study abroad in Argentina. I stayed with a middle-income family in a working-class barrio. They had a maid, I’ll call her Tia, who lived with them. During the day we would watch soap operas, eat little cookies and occasionally exchange our thoughts on the boludos on the screen. Our relationship was superficial and other than the fact that she was from the North part of the country and was relatively poor, I didn’t know much about her.

Then one day I came into the kitchen and Tia was crying. No not crying, but sobbing, shaking in  her shoulders as she washed dishes in the sink. Of course I asked her what was wrong but when she tried to explain with her northern accent and rapidly more desperate words, I couldn’t understand her. I patted her shoulder, and asked if I could do anything. She gave me a cup of coffee.

My host family later explained that Tia’s 16-year-old daughter, I’ll call her Maria, had run away with her motorcycle-riding 20 year old boyfriend. Tia blamed herself for not being there. But there was nothing she could do. Tia’s abusive ex-husband had custody of the children and all Tia could do was send the children some extra money for school supplies.

I left for the weekend to go on a trip to the beach. When I came back there was Maria, looking more morose than one would think possible of a 16 year old girl. She had bags under her eyes and walked slightly hunched. She did not talk to me and left the room anytime I came in.

My host family explained later. Maria had run away to get an illegal abortion. It had gone wrong. She couldn’t stop bleeding. They took out her uterus. She would never have children. The motorcycle-riding boyfriend was no where in sight. Maria’s father did not want her back in his house.

Before I left I gave her my hair dryer and black converses. I didn’t know what else I could say or do that would somehow lessen the hurt of what had happened and how her life would never be the same.

When I got back to the states I went to visit my family and catch up with life from the past year. I was chatting with my cousin, when she told me she had had an abortion while I was gone. It was an unplanned pregnancy. She found out when she was only a few weeks pregnant. She took a pill and continued her 2nd year of nursing school. She graduates this May.

When I asked her if I could share her story she said sure but she also said “There’s not much to share. I don’t really think about it ever. Maybe that is offensive to some people. But it just isn’t a part of my life.”

I often think about the difference in the futures of two young girls because of access to reproductive rights, because of a country’s laws over those reproductive rights and in the end because of luck of where they were born. And in the end, it is their stories that ahve convinced me that access to abortion and reproductive health is a right of every woman.

When we were talking about creating this event 9 months ago, we were all surprised and comforted by the similarities we had in our stories. We wanted to share this comfort and connection with a larger community by sharing our stories. Thank you for joining us tonight and enjoy the event.”

 

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Filed under Events in Chicago, Her Story