Youth Institute for Anti-Sexual Violence Activism

Hey y'all,

I am in the process of starting a community organization. I decided to name it Youth Institute for Anti-Sexual Violence Activism. The mission of Youth Institute of Anti-Sexual Violence Activism is to organize from a non-violent, feminist perspective to empower youth of all genders with the tools, resources, and training needed to aid in the fight to end sexual violence and to become anti-sexual violence activists, particularly focusing on violence against women and trans folks of color. Here's our Idealist page, if you're interested, please check it out to see if there's anyway you can offer your support. Right now, I really need help in moving this organization past the 'idea' stage. If you have a background in working with youth, trans folks, women, or on the issue of sexual violence in inner city communities your advice and support are welcome. Also, we need a logo, so if you know anyone who does graphics, let me know! I don't have the resources to work on this project full time right now and I also want to get more experience working in non-profits and with youth before I go full fledged but I am applying for some fellowships and grants right now for the org so send me your good vibes!



On Heteropatriarchy, Presidents and Families

I've been reading a lot more these days about polyamory. The theory itself is pretty convincing and so are the arguments against the heteopatriarchal myth of marriage: "For instance, we may be in a relationship we are super into, but then want to have an experience outside that relationship with someone who shares a characteristic with us that our partner doesn't, whether that be race, language, age, class background, ability, trans identity, or something else. Our radical politics tell us we don't have to pretend that those things don't matter, and that we can honor the different connections we get to have we get to have with people based on shared or different identities. If we love our partners and friends, it makes sense that we would want them to have experiences that are affirming or important for them in those ways, and not let rules of sexual exclusivity make us into barriers for each other's personal development (For Lovers and Fighters, Dean Spade)." I think in our minds, polyamory makes more sense to us. However, we've been socialized from the likes of parents, Disney movies, church, television shows, and of course, our Presidents. 

What does it mean that only one of our U.S. Presidents have been unmarried (James Buchanan was engaged to be married before his fiancé died)? And that none of them have been married to someone outside of their race? Or that all of them have been Christian and heterosexual? What message does being married send to the American public? A recent article in the L.A. Times about Mitt Romney focusing on his marriage to Ann Romney throughout his campaign and increasingly so, now that its almost time for the primaries, outlines the fact that Romney's marriage is evidence that he is a man of "steadiness and constancy." It has been said that Romney is using this focus on marriage, in direct opposition to another candidate, Newt Gingrich, who has had three failed marriages; Republican voters cite it as the main reason why they might not vote for him. One woman interviewed said, in reference to Gingrich, "if you can't work at a marriage and make that work, how can you make the government work?" What does it mean that President Bill Clinton was impeached when it was found out that he had an extramarital affair?

Our society is rooted in capitalism. It is the fundamental building block of America and it is present in every corner of our lives. Therefore, it is no wonder then, that the wives of American presidents, particularly in this example of Mitt Romney are treated as the property of the President and by extension, the American public. "The President is a product" and marriage is a huge part of the campaign for the Presidency. The American public must also fall in love with the wife. She is touted to events and speaks often during the campaign on behalf of her husband. Marriage, particularly in the case of the American presidency is a property arrangement, where the wife is sold to the American public as the perfect wife. The marriage of the President to someone of his same race; one man, one woman, white picket fence as the traditional love story is essentially a myth, a message sent to the people of the world that this is success, this is what you should attain to. I'm not married, but in my experience, marriage doesn't last, monogamous relationships that follow this framework don't last, at least most times, statistics show and if they do, its probably not because both parties followed this stoic framework.

Andrea Smith, in her article, "Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy" quotes Christian Right activist and founder, Charles Colson, "Marriage is the traditional building block of human society, intended both to unite couples and bring children into the world... the family, led by a married mother and father, is the best available structure for both childrearing and cultural health." I've heard comments from black men, that a real woman is a woman like Michelle Obama, a woman who they've never met, that this is they way it should be done, referring to a familial structure. Their marriage normalizes black heteropatriarchy. As I discussed here, black womyn are particularly oppressed under this institution of patriarchy. Black womyn's worth is based "solely in terms of success at finding and keeping a romance, to brainwash women into spending all their time measuring themselves against this norm and working to change their bodies, behaviors, and activities to meet the requirements of being attractive to men and suitable for romance. I see this myth as both personally damaging to people-in how it creates unrealistic expectations about ourselves and each other and causes us to constantly experience insecurity-and also politically damaging because its a giant distraction from our resistance and it divides us (especially based on the fucked up self-fulfilling stereotypes about how woman compete with each other.)...It's important to have a critique of the myth of romance that looks at how damaging it is to us in our personal lives, and how it is designed to fuel social arrangements, codified in law, that we invented to subordinate woman and make them into the property of men.(Dean Spade)." Womyn are socialized to do everything to fulfill the "perfect woman" myth to enter into the capitalist structure of a relationship, which is marriage, even diss other women, in order to help perpetuate categories of women that are acceptable and unacceptable for marriage. 

The marriage of Barack and Michelle Obama is drooled over by the American public as well, particularly the Black American public. That's not particularly a bad thing either. Media, even black media, depicts black relationships as tainted and violent; Baby Boy is one example, not to mention that Chris Brown's violence against Rihanna received more media attention that any white man beating up his white wife. However, I believe that the near worship of Potus and Flotus' relationship is unhealthy, because its almost never accompanied by a real interrogation of the President's politics. Its always "I love my President!", "I love them!", "They are so cute!" when we see a picture of them together or Barack talking about Michelle. This myth, adopted to a predominant black family, makes it easier for black people to adapt to it. Andrea Smith continues "heteropartiarchy is the building block of US empire. In fact, it is the building block of the nation-state form of governance." Maybe its because a lot of us have grown up in communities "listening to their choice of baby mama anthems while using “baby daddy” as a term of endearment" like Janelle Harris, in this article describes. Perhaps we've grown tired of seeing poor, single mothers. But is marriage really the solution? Of course, we wish that more dads would stick around after they've had a child with a woman. But as Smith says "Christian Right politics work through the private family (which is coded as white, patriarchal, and middle class) to create a 'Christian America.' She notes that the investment in the private family makes it difficult for people to invest in more public forms of social connection. In addition, investment in the suburban private family serves to mask the public disinvestment in urban areas that makes the suburban lifestyles possible. " Therefore, marriage is seen as the solution to the struggling single mother, with no real movement for the social services necessary to make caring for a child as a single mother or even as a family possible.

In conclusion, whether choosing polyamory, monogamy, single hood or marriage, we must create our own ideals of family that include consciousness about our relationships with the community around us. 


Rape culture is...

Rape culture is telling fat womyn that they should be happy someone wants to fuck them.
Rape culture is telling black girls that they are fast.
Rape culture is telling Native womyn that its tradition.
Rape culture is telling Latina womyn to stay pure until marriage.
Rape culture is telling trans folks that they deserve it.
Rape culture is telling immigrant womyn that its the price you pay.
Rape culture is telling disabled womyn that they can't have sex.
Rape culture is ignoring people who experience sexual violence in prisons.
Rape culture is telling trans womyn, that they aren't really womyn.


Black Womyn Hate as Manifestations of Heteropatriarchy

This hate of black women is not new, but it still fucking burns. I'm tired of this shit. I'm tired of black men who act like their dick is the second coming of Jesus Christ telling black women that we are not good enough to be with them. Rhetoric like this, based on what is wrong with black womyn, why we are not desirable, what we need to do to get a man, is rooted in heteropatriarchy and by extension, capitalism and homophobia. In "Heteropatriarchy and The Three Pillars of White Supremacy", Andrea Smith draws out the link between heteropatriachy and this type of conversation around relationships.

Andrea Smith quotes Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, "If we fail to enact a Federal Marriage Amendment, we can expect not just more family breakdown, but also more criminals behind bars and more chaos in our streets." We can see from this quote that in the eyes of right-wing, Christian, mainstream society, marriage between two heterosexual adults of extreme genders is a process of crime prevention. The assumption is, which is an assumption held by black men also, that when you invest in this traditional familial dynamic the you prevent delinquent little boys and sexually promiscuous girls, with no critical analysis to the criminalization of black youth and the high rate of black womyn experiencing sexual victimization. Smith then goes on to quote Lift High the Cross author Ann Burlien, "the investment in the private family makes it difficult for people to invest in more public forms of social connection. In addition, the investment in the suburban private family serves to mask the public disinvestment in the urban areas that makes the suburban life possible." Subscribing to the belief that one man should be with one woman and that men should be the ones we aspire to be with promotes patriarchal domination and homophobia. It promotes the myth of the American dream, which ultimately benefits a small sector of society.


USA as a Battleground: No Surprise

"In fact the U.S. Constitution confers the right of the state to maintain itself over and above the rights of its citizenry." -Andrea Smith

In light of the recent news that the U.S. could soon be declared an effective battleground, I want to shed light on why this is happening and what this might for people of color. Andrea Smith, in her essay "Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy", which I have quoted here and here outline why this might all make sense in the eyes of the U.S. as a imperialist society. She says, "the logic of Orientalism marks certain peoples or nations as inferior and as posing a constant threat to the well-being of empire. These people are still seen as 'civilizations'-they are not property or 'disappeared'-however, they will always be imaged as permanent foreign threats to empire. This logic is evident in the anti-immigration movements within the United States that target immigrants of color. It does not matter how long immigrants of color reside in the United States, they generally become targeted as foreign threats, particularly during war time. Consequently, orientalism serves as the anchor for war, because it allows the United States to justify being in a constant state of way to protect itself from its enemies." Therefore, we can draw comparisons to the way the state institutions currently treat marginalized groups to what society would be like if this bill passed.

People of color, women, gays and lesbians are unfairly targeted by the police and are the fastest growing segments of the military where they face discrimination and violence at higher rates than other populations. Not only are people of color marginalized here the in the States, but colonial missions are launched almost exclusively against people of color abroad. So if we draw these connections, we can see that this bill will mean that a permanent war is waged against people of color, women, LGBT person, low income individuals, etc. here in the U.S. to keep oppressions, privilege and white supremacy in place. "What becomes clear is then is what Sora Han states-the United States is not at war; the United States is war." It is because we have the belief that the U.S. is basically a good society, with a basically good framework for our liberation, that oppression is just happenstance and is not deliberate, we continue to ignore that war and genocide is at the very core of this country. The U.S. continues to facilitate colonial missions such as these to keep black people imprisoned and Native lands occupied, both of which serve to keep capitalism in place and keep the U.S. a successful imperial entity.

Click the title of this post for a pdf of the proposed bill.


My Story of Not Rape: Updated

When I first read this essay, my life was changed. Someone had classified what happened to me, not just once, but several times in my childhood, throughout it in fact. Someone had experienced it too. Someone had given it a name, said it was wrong. I felt empowered.

In mainstream society and even in some liberation movements, we have a hierarchal relationship to sexual violence. Rape is classified as the most brutal form of sexual violence, and maybe it is. However, its often personified as a stranger jumping out on a wildly attractive, ulta-feminine white woman because he just can't contain his sexual desires. She screams no loudly but her attempts are futile. Womyn of color are often reluctant to speak out about the sexual violence we've experienced, partly because mainstream society tells us we're not as worthy of protection as white women. This archaic, stereotype of how rape happens is a white ideal that serves to protect the notion of white womanhood and persecute men of color. However, most rapes don't play like out that and all sexual violence is not rape.

Not rape. The not rape epidemic. Its not rape, or its not that archaic stereotype of rape, but it is the trespassing of bodies. Its the stealing of something, the betrayal of your safety. Its the sending of a message, that you're not worthy of that safety and that your power is only in the physicality of your body.

Here is one of my stories of not rape:

Antoine was a boy in my elementary school class. He was tall and light skinned and had a bumpy face, complete with beady eyes. He was a menace to my class, the class clown, constantly in trouble. He touched my butt. I couldn't even tell my mom face to face, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed that I had talk about my body, something so intimate, to my mother. I wrote a note and hid it in her car, hoping she would find it but not talk to me directly about it. She didn't, instead the next thing I heard about the situation was when I was called to the school office. She came with my now step dad to talk with some officials (I think the principal and the vice-principal) at my school.  I think Antoine was suspended. I wasn't the only girl he had been touching like that and it wasn't the only time he had bothered us. All of the times he bothered us, we asked him to stop, to leave us alone. He never did. Our white, female teacher never did anything to stop us. None of the other boys in the class did anything. We were young black girls, it didn't matter, we were already disposable, hypersexual, worthless.

The important point here, is that he knew what he was doing was wrong and he knew that we didn't like it. He knew that I wanted it to stop. He showed me that I didn't have any power in the situation to make someone stop touching my body, a body he felt he had full access to. It was my elementary school body and he had more rights to it than I did. Maybe what's just as crucial in this situation, was the fact that this elementary school boy's power dynamics were already shaped in his own mind and in his own life; to believe that he had the right and the ability to touch me, to touch a part of me that was deemed intimate by society and by himself, and in turn, by me. I realized after that moment that my butt was something that was sexual, before that I thought the reason boys liked me was because I had a pretty face and my hair was long, which is arguably just as bad. Now I knew that boys liked me because I had body parts that they didn't, not necessarily because they liked those body parts, but because they were socialized to deem those body parts sexual and desirable. I wonder now about the messages he was sent, about how his body may have been violated, what was it exactly that made him see us as objects to be touched and not heard. He wasn't a man yet, at least not age wise, but he definitely had male privilege or the beginnings of it. We were girls of color, being violated by a boy of color, showing us what the hundreds maybe thousands of interactions we would have with men of color from here on out would be like, showing us the oppression that we would endure from our counterparts for maybe the rest of our lives, showing me what my body meant to the world around me was more important than what it meant to me. The more our butts grew, the more our breasts grew, they grew not with self-discovery, pride, love or excitement but with embarrassment at what also growing guys would say about our bodies, how they would touch us, what names they would call us, and what ways we could stop their vulgar comments. We could never match their dangerous wit, we weren't trained in how to objectify anyone, we were trained to be the opposite: quiet, accepting. No matter what we said, we couldn't make these young boys understand what their words were doing to us, how they were shaping our self-esteem with their comments.

In this interaction was also about consent and self-esteem. My power to consent to anything was taken away from me because my power to have my "no" heard and heeded was denied. I was victimized. This story/interaction is classified as "not rape" because it wasn't rape but it did set me up on a path for continued victimization, which rape is a manifestation of. If women can't have the power to say yes, they won't have the power to say no and have it listened to and heeded either.  The body is integrally related to self-esteem. Two things can break a person's self esteem: sexual violence and being subjected to the the male gaze. Two things that womyn are victimized into. Two things that I have been pushed into.

Messages like these from the boys/men around me, the media, and my family all culminated to show me that my power was in being more attractive than other girls. If I wanted attention from boys/men, I needed to dress scantily, I needed to keep my hair done, I needed to be dainty, ditzy, and cute, because that was what boys liked. I was trained to make pleasing the opposite sex one of my goals, my aspirations and if I could get boys to like me more than they liked other girls, that I won at something, I succeeded, I had power. This is the way that power dynamics get fucked up by patriarchy, it makes those without power feel like they need to do stupid shit to get it and it makes those with power fight to maintain it by abusing it and violating others. This "compete with other girls for guys" mentality stayed with me for many years and is still something I struggle with. Before these messages, I didn't compare myself to other girls to see why boys liked them more or less than they liked me. I thought guys liked me because I was just as beautiful but just in other ways. But that's not the way it was at all. Guys liked me or didn't like me based on how much I fit into society's constructed desire for those men. Desire is constructed for men. Womyn are the subjects of the male gaze and therefore try to manipulate their looks and behavior to fit into what men have been socialized to see as desirable. Its an oppressive, sexist, and queerphobic approach for both. To allow no room for diversity. Its taken me a long time to get that feeling of desirability and self-love back and I'm still working at it.

What is your not-rape story? Please share. Tell me, in the form of essay, song, poem, journal entry, experiment, photograph, anything you want, your story of bodily trespassing, and I'll post it here. If you are thinking of submitting, please be sure to read the original Not Rape essay from Latoya Peterson of Racialicious. You can also read the comments there to get more people's stories of Not Rape. You can remain anonymous. All submission or questions here. Please help spread the word.


Iggy Azalea: Updated

About to listen to Iggy Azalea "Ignorant Art" mixtape for the first time which is apparently an ode to basquiat. I was reading an interview from her in the newest issue L.A. Record which I just picked up from Amoeba, it made me immediately run to her site. She seems hella cool, hope it doesn't disappoint.

[Excerpt from the interview]
You have more in common with older female rapper-or maybe Nicki Minaj at the beginning of her career.

"Yeah, now she wants to be Harajuku Barbie. My videos weren't always sexual, and people would say it was going to take me, like six years longer because of that. Fuck off, if I'm going to do it, I'll do it how I want to do it....I'm not doing it in a man's version of what women's sexuality is allowed to be, which I personally think is bullshit and most of the time demeaning."

Plus she's cute.

[Quickie Review]
Ignorant Art is definitely ignorant music. There's no lyricism of real substance. I do like the fun vibe of it though, kind of reminiscent of Kid Sister. It is different than other music out there, especially coming from a female rapper and its definitely not something that can easily fit into radio, so she gets points on that. Iggy has a nice flow and the potential to make better music than this. Halfway through listening, I saw that YG was on one of the tracks. Usually this would be grounds for automatic dismissal, but I continue to listen. I do like Treasure Island. And to stop comparisons to Kreayshawn, she should never make another song like Drop That. [Verdict]: I'll let her stay on my ITunes, she might grow on me.

You can download Iggy's mix tape here.


I Still Love You

"See if you believe that you & me, can change the world someday, then believe when I say, I Still Love You."

I totally forgot how much I used to love this song!


Anti-Violence Workshops (Updated, Again)

Heyy everyone,

This fall I am interning at the Downtown Women's Center in the Los Angeles skid row area. Primarily, my responsibilities will be to educate the community there on issues of violence. I have a series of upcoming workshops that will focus on sexual violence and state violence, that I would love for you all to attend.

Workshop 1 will be held on November 3rd, 1-2:30pm and November 5th, 1:15-2:45pm. This workshop will cover sexual violence, how this type of violence affects homeless women, how this community, including organizations and activists, responds to it, as well as ways to end violence against this community.

Workshop 2 will be held on November 17th. 1-2:30pm and December 3rd from 1:15-2:45pm. This workshop will cover state violence, its relation to sexual violence, how this type of violence affects homeless women, what this community, including activists and organizations, can do to defend itself from state violence, the root causes of state violence, and why some communities are targeted more than others.

All workshops will be held at the Downtown Women's Center, 442 S. San Predro Ave. LA, CA 90013 on the 2nd floor patio. Hope to see you there!


West Coast Hip Hop: Part 6: Dregs One

Dregs One is an emcee and producer from Northern California, San Francisco to be exact. One of the aspects I appreciate most about Dregs's music, besides good beats, is that he actually has something to say and can actually be called a progressive or conscious rapper and he gets considerably better with every project. Check out some videos from Dregs off his newest mixtape "The Wake Up Call" below:

Also, check out Dregs' Wake Up Reports where he talks about community issues below:

Stay up to date on Dregs One's projects here.


I Love LA: Part 5: Downtown LA Artwalk

I went to the Dowtown Art Walk for the first time this past Thursday. It was pretty fun. There was some good art and cool vendors and it was hella crowded. I just wish the streets were better lit and that the galleries were all next door from each, they're too spread out. I'm proud of myself because all I bought was a $10 mojito. Why are drinks so expensive?! ugh. Well it will be my last time having a mojito, I don't like the taste. Check out the pics of me and some friends and some of the artwork below:


I Love LA: Part 4: Things To Do in LA This Week

Things to Do in LA:
  • Downtown Art Walk
    • second Thursday of every months starting on Main street, generally lasts from 12-9pm
    • Free
    • Self-guided tour of art galleries in the Downtown Los Angeles area
  • Third Wednesday/Downtown Culver City
    • live entertainment
    • art galleries
    • food & drink specials
    • giveaways
    • free samples
    • between Culver Blvd & Washington blvd.
    • 5-9pm
    • 3102026060
  • Activist Public Picnic
    • Vegan Potluck
    • Clover Park, 2600 Ocean Blvd. Santa Monica
    • 12-3pm
    • 3103991000


Hippie Shit

I don't like when people call me a hippie. Its not that I get offended, I just think its inaccurate. First off, unless you were a teenager or a young adult in the 60s that practically lived on Haight & Ashbury, then you my friend are not a hippie. Maybe you bear similarities to hippies, but hippies are not born/made everyday. They were a people/movement that has since died out.

I would guess that people call me a hippie because I always talk about love, peace, and equality, which was a lot of the stuff that hippies fought for. My problem with people that call themselves hippies are that they shout "love!" with no real analysis on why hate exists. They just say these things because its are trendy and call themselves hippies because that's the trendy thing to do but know nothing of concepts like appropriation, or colonization, or white privilege.

The clothes: which is another reason people probably call me a hippie. I don't dress like no damn hippie. Most people who try to emulate hippie culture are just doing it to be trendy. Native people all over the world dressed in bright, ornate ways way before hippies came on the map. Say I dress like the Native people of the world, not no damn hippie. More than anything, I try to represent myself in the way that I dress. & I am not a hippie.


Updated: Slut Shaming and Sexual Choice

Slut-shaming (I wish there was a better word for it) is a product of sex negative images. So not only is slut-shaming sexist it is also a process of policing gender. Slut shaming privileges men over womyn, by telling womyn that they are responsible for the sexual responses of men because womyn's power is sexual while men's power is material. "Put on pants instead of shorts, so men won't holler at you when you walk down the street." "If you weren't drinking so much, you wouldn't have been raped." In both of these situations, womyn are expected to be responsible for what men do, because supposedly men can't control their responses when women assumed to be hypersexual, show that they are indeed sexual beings. Slut shaming is telling womyn not to fall out of the confines of modesty and what the stereotype of what a woman should be: dainty, submissive, etc. When a woman falls out of those restrictions, society, including slut shamers ridicule her for not lining up to what their standards of a woman should be, for stepping out of line, for being a sexual woman with autonomy which womyn were never believed to be. They tell her she's not a real woman, that instead she is a ho, and strip her of her gender identity all together. This is the worst situation for a young woman of color to be in. They make her feel so bad that she'll get back in line and never stray again. Slut shaming serves to keep stoic ideas of what a woman should be in tact: pure and passive.

This type of logic disproportionately affects women of color. Since women of color are already seen by dominant society, including men of color, as hypersexual, callous deviants who use sex for purely economic and/or man stealing gains, our sexuality is even more boxed in. We put on a modest persona to seek acceptance not only from other womyn but from the men of our race also. Our sexuality is dictated for us even more than it is for white womyn. Most womyn are so afraid of being ostracized from the community based on sexual choices deemed inappropriate, that they make those choices, not based on love or fulfillment but only so they won't go through this process of gender stripping slut-shaming. My plea is for womyn to start making sexual choices based on what their desires are and what their own definition of a woman is and also allow every other woman to make those same rules, decisions, and choices for herself. Don't let society determine what your sexuality should look like. Define your own ideas and give every other woman the right to do that for herself, she deserves it. Shatter the degrading stereotype of what a woman should be.

My message to women is to be proud of the sexual choices you make when you don't care what others will think of you. Don't restrict yourself based on what ideas are out there about the purity of a woman. Even if afterward, you felt like it was a mistake and regret it later on, remember it happens to the best of us. Be proud that at that moment it was exactly what you wanted. Be proud that you had the clear mind and will to make that decision. If for no other reason, do it for the womyn who didn't get to make the choice about what sexual choices they were going to make.

"SEXUAL VINDICATION ladies, taking back whats ours!"

Sexual vindication: doing what you want, with your body, regardless of preconceived notions and not caring what people think about what you are doing, with your body.

Sexual Violence and Sex Negative Messages

The other day was the first day that I masturbated without guilt. I was in high school when I first started to masturbate. High school was also the time in my life when I was going through my die hard Imma-be-a-minister-when-I-grow-up Christian phase. Not only was I being sent covert messages from the media about how dirty and disgusting masturbation was but I was also being sent similar overt messages from the adults in my life that I loved, trusted, and believed about how wrong and sinful masturbation was. These messages didn't make me stop though, they only made me feel ashamed of what I was doing. I had found a part of myself that felt too damned good to stop, which made me feel even more bad and on top of that I was being told in church every Sunday to let go of the flesh and how only sinful, worldly creatures choose flesh over the Lord. I was a wreck, but a sexually satisfied wreck. Instead of persuading me to stop, those messages that were embedded into my psyche triggered an guilty response every time I felt the fruits of my masturbation labor. I relished the physical goodness but my mind felt like what I had just done was wrong, the physicality of what I was feeling was wrong. Pretty much, I felt bad about feeling good.

Every time, I told myself that I needed to stop, that I needed to get my life in order, that I needed to ask for forgiveness and I did. Over and over again. Imagine what that can do to a person, you continue to commit what you feel is a crime, a religious crime, one even worse than those committed against the law. Imagine what it did to my sexual health. I felt screwed up. The connection had already been made: sex is bad, dirty, wrong, and worst of all sinful.

Now that I've abandoned my religious beliefs and adopted love as my die hard spirituality, I have come to realize that sex is a natural part of life. To tell someone and send messages that sex is wrong is what the true problem is.

I recently read an blog post by sex positive activist Charlie Glickman. In his post he draws the link between sex negative messages and rape culture. He says "sex negative messages don't keep people from having sex. They keep people from having good sex." Brilliant. To further his argument, sex negative messages don't just keep people from having good sex they also keep people from feeling healthy, mature, equipped, and happy about the sexual choices they make. Sex negative messages are violent messages that keep people away from expressing themselves sexually in a safe, healthy, fun manner. They detach people from the very necessary connection human beings need to have with their physical body. Andrea Smith in her book "Conquest: Sexual Violence and the American Indian Genocide," says, "as a consequence of this colonization and abuse of their bodies, Indian people learn to internalize self-hatred, because body image is integrally related to self-esteem. When one's body is not respected, one begins to hate oneself. Anne, a native boarding school student, reflects on this process: You better not touch yourself...If I looked at somebody, lust, sex I got scared of those sexual feelings. And I did not know how to handle them...What really confused me was if intercourse was a sin, why are people born?...It took me a really long time to get over the fact that...I've sinned, I had a child." Therefore, I agree with Glickman's argument that sex negative messages promote rape. In order to have a mind that sees rape as wrong, you have to believe that every person's body is worthy of respect and love, but how can you respect and love someone else's body when you've been taught that all things sexual are bad? when you hate yourself and your own body?, when you're indiscriminate and careless about the sexual choices you make? This why I believe more men commit sexually violent acts than womyn do, because men are taught to be indiscriminate and careless in their sexual choices. If they turn a woman down, they are tagged gay not selective.

In Juice, Bishop said "I don't give a fuck. I don't give a fuck about you. I don't give a fuck about Steel. I don't give a fuck about Raheem, either. I don't give a fuck about myself. Look, I ain't shit. And you less of a man than me, so as soon as I figure you ain't gon be shit, pow!" Even though this is a fictional movie, it was a depiction of a real situation. When someone hates themselves they hate another person even more since society is shaped in a way where we don't give other the same respect we give ourselves. Therefore, I am making the assertion that the first step to stopping sexual violence is to stop sex negative messages. Teach people about sex positivity, so that they can be comfortable, and can respect and love their own bodies and the bodies of others. Its definitely easier said than done, but it can be done.

It took a long time of me constantly rethinking the sex negative messages that I had been sent for so long for me in order for me to fully love and appreciate my body and the body of others and it was definitely worth the wait.


I Love LA: Part 3: Eat Real Festival!

So I had been looking forward to the Eat Real Festival since I learned about it from the LA Times about two weeks previous and I finally got to go yesterday. While the festival didn't meet all of my expectations, which are always pretty high, it was still effin awesome. First, parking was horrible. This is the same crowd aligned with the green movement, so I wonder if the inconvenience was done on purpose. There weren't event any designated parking lots, only bike lots where you could get your bike valeted and shuttles. I'm all for the bikes and the like but they need to understand nonetheless 90% of people coming to this event will be driving, don't punish them for it. The festival was also a lot smaller than I expected but bigger isn't always better as showcased by this event.

The main thing I went for was the food trucks of course. The first one my mother and I decided on was the world famous Nom Nom truck from Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race. They were only selling one item, the Banh Mi, which I was a little apprehensive about since I don't really like lemongrass. However, I went ahead and tried it minus the mayo and it was the best lemongrass chicken I've ever had. All the ingredients were fresh, it had the perfect amount of spiciness with the jalapenos, and the baguette was really filling. It was delicious. I washed it down with a mango agua fresca. The next food truck we tried was Flat Iron where we ordered the house fries which were weirdly shaped potatoes seasoned with I believed to be sea salt, and some type of herb. Either way, they were dry but pretty good nonetheless.

We walked around and visited some booths about farming from South Central Farmers and organic food where Organic Valley was handing out organic string cheese, stickers and cards with information about how to make your own butter. We also bought white nectarines from a booth by Santa Monica Farmer's Market. The best part, besides the food, was the marketplace, even though I didn't buy anything. There was homemade honey and honey products from Backyard Bees. Their handcream was to die for. I also tasted a jerk sauce, jerk as in jerk chicken, from Jabberwocky Foods Inc. The sauce was good and reasonably priced. I also tasted pure chocolate which was good until the bitter end, literally. Last, I tasted an Original flavored olive from Orgasmo de la Boca, which the owner said her vegetarian friends describe as their bacon, I can definitely see the comparison!

Overall I had an excellent time, maybe I'll be at the one in Oakland next! Check out some of the flicks I took below:


I Love LA: Part 2: Things To Do This Week

*only free events are posted*


I Love LA: Part 1: Venice

Today, I spent the day with my wonderful and very good friend TaRasha at Venice, Los Angeles; which is a sort of mecca in LA. Most people don't go to Venice Beach to enjoy the water but instead go to see the street art; graffiti and live circus-like performers; shop and eat. I bought two pairs of earrings for $23 at Gonzo Africa which has a lot of cool ethnic jewelry. Fred, whom I believe is the owner was really cool and gave us both discounts on our purchases.

Venice is home to many cool restaurants like famed taco truck Kogi BBQ which makes Korean tacos, you also find them at this event tonight. TaRasha and I ate a cool little Mediterranean restaurant called Cairo Cowboy, which is known for its Kabob N' Roll food truck as well but the owners just opened up this restaurant in Venice. Despite the corny name of the place, the food was really good, the portions were small but adequate for the price. I had the vegetarian version of the Mediterranean pizza, I think it was called Zatar. It came with a puree-like sauce of herbs, sesame seeds, purple onions, and tomatoes. TaRasha had fried banana nutella bites which were like pupusas filled with....you guessed it, nutella and fried banana. They were really good too.

Check out the earrings I bought today below:

Los Angeles

So after spending the majority of my time in Riverside for the past four years, I am back in LALAland and appreciating the hell out of it. So I'm making a effort to learn more about the city that I grew up in, specifically focusing on history/historical sites, events, and cool places. I'm starting a new series where I talk about places that I've been and cool events coming up in the Los Angeles area. In addition to blogging pictures and stories about the places I'm visiting, I'll post Things To Do in LA every Sunday. Stay tuned!


DivaCup Review

After I stumbled upon much research on the ills of menstruation products such as tampons and pads, I became disgusted. But not because of menstruation, but because like everything else in this world, capitalism had gotten a hold of something as natural as blood from a cooter. Why was I surprised, of course companies at the forefront of menstrual health were male-centric, capitalist and were least of all concerned with women's well being; that's why most of these products contain harmful chemicals like bleach. There had to be a better way, I thought. (And!) there is! I settled on the DivaCup, a resuable mentrual cup. My first cycle, it was to die for. Conveinent, clean, and safe, I worshipped the dear DivaCup. But from there, it all went down hill. The damn thing wouldn't stop leaking, and you know what a bother that can be. Frustrated, angry, sad, and heartbroken were not overly dramatic reactions to my DivaCup demise, they were true from the soul. Anyway, I sought help from online forums and even the company itself to no appropriate avail. Now I'm back to regular, unsafe methods, but I'm thinking, I may try this next.


As a Woman

As a woman, I am tired of feeling the need to look perfect every time I go outside so I won't be criticized for how appealing I don't look.
but also, as a woman, I am tired of feeling the need to dress down so as to lessen the amount of leers and jeers I get from disgusting men.
As a woman, I am disgusted that I am never not aware that men want to have sex with me.
As a woman, I am even more disgusted by the violences that I and my sisters face daily; the rapes against my body, against my sexuality, against my sexual orientation, against my womanhood.
As a woman, I am tired of having to defend my position as intellectual, as a person of having a viable conversation with any person!
As a woman, I am disgusted that I am positioned as a victim in every situation.
And as a woman, I am tired of having my thoughts, beliefs and knowledge questioned because you don't think that I am smart enough to know things about this life and about this world.
As a woman, I'm frightened about what this world will look like if this behavior continues.
As a woman, I'm thoroughly annoyed by the fact that men are given privilege solely based on the fact that they were born with a penis!, a penis that some of them don't even know how to use properly.
As a woman, I'm tired of feeling the need to live up to standards of men who do not even have a relationship with me.
As a woman, I am sickened by the fact that there are womyn who oppress other womyn just as much as men oppress womyn.
As a woman, I am tired of being ignored!
As a woman, I am tired of having to hide the fact that I enjoy sex, very much!
As a woman, I am discomforted by the idea that my body is used to sell products in a capitalist system that oppresses me more than it does a man.
I am not a ho, I am not a bitch, I am not a slut, I am not a whore, I am not a prostitute, I am not a chick. I am woman, I am a girl.
I am beautiful no matter what anyone says.
I am smart.
I am capable.
Its not easy to love being a woman with all this and more to deal with it, my only solace is to sit up and speak about these injustices, to notice that this is not right and to do something about it! I have a big voice and I will use it for change until change comes because my vagina said that I should. :)


My Favorite Slum Village song: Climax

"The concept is a menage a trois really, a guy's fantasy. We're trying to break the monotony and relax the stiffness of sexuality because it's so suppressed. We're trying to tell everybody it's okay if you wanna have a menage a trois. Do your thing, it's alright. Sexuality is freedom and we support that. I don't suppress my sexuality and we don't do it in our music, so we're sharing it with the world - something that another group probably wouldn't do." -Baatin



You know what I'm tired of?, the phenomena from people within activist circles to pant relentlessly about their disgust and astonishment with our country that we aren't as "progressive" as we seem, or apparently should be, just because we are *cue the national anthem* Americaaaa, the beautiful. Shit, tell me something I don't know... and why isn't this something that you already knew? The worst part of it is when they put such statistic as; "What does the United States of America have in common with the African nation of Somalia? Answer: They are the only countries to refuse to sign Article 37 of the 1989 UN document entitled, "Rights of the Child."; against a largely undeveloped country like Somalia in this real-life example to emphasize how "primitive" (her words, not mine) and "third world" this country truly is and juxtapose it with heightened surprise, complete with raised eyebrows. Like, Oh! My! God! My Beautiful, superior country has something in common with this ravaged and destitute country??! How could it be? There must be some type of mistake! Not Americaaa... the beautiful. Gosh! We must do something about this, and quickly!... so we can further widen the gap between US and THEM, privileged and underprivileged, progressive and unprogressive. We cannot possibly in the same pool as them and therefore doomed to the same fate. Nevermind the REAL needs of the subject or issue we're speaking about or the country we're persecuting. Sigh. Will it ever end?