Lately I’ve noticed that there has been a lot of discussion of school dress codes on social media, which I think is great, because I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Many people argue that schools need dress codes because there is certain attire approprriate for school, and some that is not. This is fair, but on the other hand, many of the dress code guidelines are very female-oriented because women’s bodies are more sexualized than men’s.

I’d like to point out some of the guidelines and why they are sexist in nature.

No visible undergarments

This includes bra straps. Now, one might assume that if a bra strap is showing the girl is wearing something inappropriate (a spaghetti strap tank top or halter top). First, I don’t understand WHY a spaghetti strap tank top is inappropriate. Shoulders showing is hardly sexual, and a bra strap? Well, if a girl has large breasts like I do, bra straps are thick and can sometimes peek out while wearing a t-shirt.

Additionally, boys are rarely held to the same standard. sagging pants were popular when I was in high school and still are, yet I never saw a single boy get told to change when his boxer shorts were showing. A girl wearing hip huggers whose panties peeked out when she sat down? Every time.

Skirts, dresses and shorts must extend below the fingertip

This rule is directed at girls only because it is not expected that a boy would wear a dress or skirt. However, girls of differing heights will yield different skirt lengths. For example, a shorter girl might wear a skirt that extends below her fingertips and all is well, but if a taller girl wears a skirt that extends below her fingertips, it might still be extremely short on her. Further, this policy is always given exception to cheerleaders as their skirts are almost always very short.

Chests and midriffs much be covered at all times

Again, directed primarily at female students. I get that they don’t want people showing their tummies all the time, but girls often get hit with violations because their shirt rode up and exposed her tummy on accident. And then there is the chests rule. What they mean is cleavage. They don’t want cleavage showing. This is not only sexist, but it targets a specific type of girl, and simultaneously body shames them. Busty girls have very little option. I was a DD in high school. Unless I wore uncomfortably high neck shirts, men’s shirts, clothing too big for me, or clothing out of fashion for my age group, cleavage was almost always visible. There was no escaping it. The school was basically saying that my breasts were shameful and I should hide them at all costs lest the boys get “distracted.” The only time boys were “distracted” by what I was wearing in high school was when another girl or a faculty member pointed it out.

I think instead of teaching girls that it’s their job to not distract boys, we should be teaching boys that they are human beings with willpower and self control and can choose not to be distracted by a woman’s attire. The mentality that shames women’s bodies and teaches women that their bodies are “distracting” in a learning (or working) environment is the kind of thinking that contributes to rape culture.

The sentencing

September 26, 2014

Yesterday was the sentencing for my niece’s abuser. My niece wrote him a letter, and asked her mom to read it in court. This is what she wrote:

 

Dear Uncle,
I really hope you get better. When you hurt me I was mad at you and sad. So I hope you become a better person. I’m surprised that you did that to me, but you were a good man but then you made that choice. I love you but not what you did to me. Why did you make that choice, it does not make sense to me. I just hope you become a better person and make the right choice. I hope you can promise me that.
From, Justice

 

That from an 8 year old girl. Her capacity to forgive is amazing to me. She has a big heart and she’s strong, so I know she’s going to heal from this. When my sister read the first three lines, I lost it. I cried because it was so emotional and the letter was so heartfelt, forgiving, but also came from a place of strength and healing.

Her uncle was sentenced to 25 years plus 10 years post prison supervision, restitution to the court and victims (to be determined within 90 days), and no contact with minors, the victims, or their families. He will get credit for time served only, no possibility of early parole. Overall, I am satisfied with the result. He practically got a life sentence (what he would be facing if he went to trial) and my niece didn’t have to go through a trial and relive every horrible detail. Justice was served, and I am glad it worked out this way. Unfortunately, not all victims of sexual abuse see justice, but sometimes, it does work out in the victim’s favor.

 

The DA cautioned us not to treat Justice like a victim, that she will heal better later on if we treat her normally and let her just be a little girl. We’ve always done this. We know she is strong, and we have supported her when she needed it, provided her with counseling and karate lessons to boost her confidence, and I think she’s going to be a very wonderful and independent young woman one day. I love her and am so proud of her for putting her abuser behind bars.

 

#Justice4Justice

#Justice4Justice

September 13, 2014

My niece is eight years old, and last year, she confided in her mom that something terrible happened. She had been sexually abused by her uncle. This was a horrible hit on our family. My ex brother-in-law relinquished custody of my niece, siding with his brother-in-law who claimed it never happened. That entire half of her family chose to alienate and abandon her. The DA suggested my niece switch schools so that she wouldn’t have to go to school with her cousins. As if being abused was not enough, the family she spent most of her life with no longer wanted her to be a part of their lives because she came forward, because they thought she was lying.

My niece’s abuser was arrested and the trial continued multiple times. Her life was turned upside-down. Not only was she dealing with a change in scenery, her and her younger brother were dealing with living with lesbian moms after being raised that homosexuality was wrong. Combined with her abuse, it was very hard on her, because she was too young to understand the difference between sex and abuse, and so the concept of homosexuality was an added confusion for her. She loves her step-mom very much, but she had to basically unlearn what she had been taught from the homophobic side of her family and accept something about her mom she simply didn’t understand (she’s totally okay with it now and she and her brother attended the Pride parade with us).

Now, she is a very happy and strong little girl. And brave. I am constantly in awe of her bravery. Her willingness to testify in court, her absolute resolve that this was not her fault, her ability to deal with such trauma at her age is just amazing. She’s also had a great support structure. She’s had counseling, her mother is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, so understands what she is going through, and she had been taking Karate which has helped build her confidence. I am so very proud of her.

As it turns out, Justice was not his only victim, and another came forward. A girl who his wife used to babysit. The DA offered him 25 years and he plead guilty to Sodomy in the 1st degree and Sexual Abuse in the 1st degree on Justice’s case, and 1st degree rape and st degree sexual abuse on the other case. Then the DA had to make a statement of facts. He detailed everything this man did to my niece and the other girl. It was difficult to hear. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or throw up. I did neither, I just sat there, and stared at the judge, who had her hand covering her mouth and looked absolutely mortified. I was too. I hadn’t heard all the details, and am now just grateful that he plead guilty so that Justice doesn’t have to testify. The fact that she was willing to is just another testament to her bravery and fortitude. I adore her so much. I hate that this happened to her, but I know that she is going to come out of it a strong, fearless young woman. The sentencing is in two weeks, and my sister will have the opportunity to speak. She might be reading a letter that Justice wrote. I hope she does, because I think he really needs to hear how he hurt this little girl, and understand that he deserves far worse than he is getting.

I just wanted to make a post about this because it has been so emotionally draining on me and my family, but I also wanted to share the story because I want people to know that justice is possible in sexual assault cases. We have adopted the hashtag #Justice4Justice because it’s so fitting. At first, is was a demand, and now it is a statement. Justice is getting justice, and we are grateful that he will be going away for a long time. Maybe if he had other victims, they will come forward as well and get whatever closure or solace they may need.

Pornography and feminism

September 1, 2014

Pornography is a hot topic (no pun intended) in society, and especially in feminism. A lot of feminists ague that mainstream pornography is degrading to women, gives people an unrealistic idea of sexuality and distorts body image. This is all very true, to some extent, but I don’t think that porn is inherently harmful (even the way it is depicted currently) and that with proper education and moderation, porn can be a fun little escape into fantasy where the user knows the difference between fantasy and reality (as with video games). I love porn. I think it’s a great way to enhance fantasy alone or with a partner. Are there problems with it? Oh yes, I will not refute that, but I think there are some factors people don’t always consider when arguing against porn.

The concept that porn is degrading to women is not a new one. Since porn has become more and more available, and more aggressively marketed to men, the scrutiny on the porn industry’s portrayal of women has increased exponentially. And it’s true that some porn does depict some pretty degrading stuff. The most important factor being ignored here (on both sides) is consent. In the majority of porn, the people in the videos appear to be consenting to whatever acts are being displayed. Now, note I said, appear to be. In a society where women are highly sexualized, objectified, and blamed if they are assaulted, I think it would be super awesome for the porn industry to have more depictions of enthusiastic consent where someone asks “do you want ___?” and the other says “YES!” Some videos do this. I like those ones. Most of them though, the consent is implied, and I can see where that would be problematic.

As for the unrealistic idea of sexuality, well, sure, if porn is someone’s ONLY introduction into sexuality. If parents have more active and realistic discussions about sex with their children, it might be easier for them to understand that porn is just a fantasy world when they do stumble across it one lonely night browsing the web when they’re 13.  Kids explore their sexualities much sooner than that though, and they explore each others bodies at a very early age way before they discover porn, and so when they do look at porn for the first time, chances are it’s not the first time they are looking at naked bodies and it’s probably unlikely they haven’t touched, licked, or otherwise fondled someone’s genitals (their own at the very least).

Distorted body image, okay, yeah, this is true. Most porn actors aren’t exactly average looking. Porn isn’t the first (and won’t be the last) to use airbrushed, made up, and surgically altered models. The attack here shouldn’t just be on porn, or even the media and fashion industry, but on society for continuing to consume this unrealistic and impossible standard of perfection. For them to stop producing it, the demand for it has to decrease dramatically. Public outcry isn’t going to stop them from wanting to make money, unfortunately.

I think that another very important issue that is often ignored in this debate is that with the rise of internet use and free porn sites, “mainstream” porn is being redefined. Amateur porn is more popular than ever, and different types of people of all shapes, sizes, and colors produce porn. More and more women are creating and maintaining their own cam websites and erotic picture galleries, or directing and producing porn that is more orientated to sexual pleasure and more sensual themes. Porn is not what it used to be, and I welcome anyone who is tired of the perfectly sculpted bodies, and unrealistic sex acts to do a little internet digging and find some different porn, because it’s out there, waiting for you to pleasure yourself to it.

Sh*t OkCupid Says Pt. 2

August 10, 2014

Since my first “Shit OkCupid Says” post, messages have gotten more and more ridiculous. They have some of my male friends apologizing on behalf of their gender! I have even added to my profile that I don’t wish to have people ask for sex right off the bat, and that tact and class go a long way. So, I’ve saved some of the funniest ones, just for you, dear readers…

I’d love to fuck you like an animal. Message me if you like huge dick
Sent from the OkCupid app Jul 7
Nine Inch Nails called, they want their lyrics back. Seriously though, huge dick? Have a hard time believing that one, and even so, no, I don’t like huge dick. I like my dicks pretty average sized. Too big can be painful!
Hey , How is it going ?
i`m a bisexual lady, im looking for fun , sex , I want to be the dominant in the relation ,,,, also i have a bf so if u r interested in threesome that would be awesome , please note that my profile is empty cuz i like meeting ppl not just talking ,,,, thanks
Sent on Jul 22
Okay…this is not from a guy…but totally deserves to be on here because hey, women can be fucking creepy too. First, what’s with the commas and lack of periods or apostrophes? What is even happening here? Confusing grammar aside, I notice a trend with bisexual women on OKC: most of them (or the ones who message me, anyway) just want a threesome with their boyfriends. What’s up with that. As a queer woman, I know most bisexuals are not interested in such en devours, but damn, I see now where the stereotype comes from.
Be my gf?
Sent on Jul 23

LOLWHUT? I can’t even…this guy isn’t even in an adjacent state.

Hi ru intrested to see big cok on cam ?
Sent from the OkCupid app Jul 17
Can’t even spell interested, why should I expect him to know how to spell cock?
Wat if u wake up suddenly and u find ur self in bed ……….. With me
Sent from the OkCupid app Jul 28
Holy effing creepy! I actually replied to this one with, “probably shoot you because WTF random stranger in my bed.” This one wins. It just wins for most horribly creepy and douchey message ever.
I would love to lick your kitty
Sent on Aug 2
Ew. I mean, I like oral sex, but this message is just ew.
BBC Friendly?
Sent on Aug 3
Ugh…just…what? Why? No, I do not have a race preference…but…ugh.
hello! are you interested in ciber-sex?
Sent on Tuesday
Ciber-sex. CIBER. These messages just make my spell check go insane.
So do u like male cock?
Sent on Wednesday
…as opposed to female cock? Now, I realize not everyone with a penis is male, but generally speaking, when asking someone their genital preference, you don’t need to attach gender to it….especially if you are cis-gender. Just sayin’. This just confuses me.
Come over…
Sent on Thursday
That’s quite presumptuous. Maybe you should read my profile, D-Bag.
Hey sexy how are you ? Do you like big thick cock ?
Sent from the OkCupid app Yesterday
The big dick questions just never get old…they’re classics at this point.

A guilty pleasure of mine is the TV show “Degrassi.” It airs on TeenNick and is aimed at teenagers, but I rather enjoy the story lines. I think the biggest reason I continue to love the show is that it tackles real-life issues. From pregnancy to sexual assault and consent issues to sexual orientation and gender identity, it seems no topic is too taboo for the show, which is fantastic, because with its diverse cast and multiple portrayals of how to deal with said issues, it is really relate-able for people of any age.

This week was the season finale, and there was one story arc in particular that made me really give the makers of the show huge kudos.

*Spoiler Alert*

One of the main characters, Miles, used to date a girl named Maya, who has an openly gay best friend Tristan. After their break-up, Miles developed a very close friendship with Tristan, and it was confessed that Tristan has a crush on Miles. Miles has always identified as straight, and has always been secure in that identity, and has never expressed any homophobia or discomfort with Tristan’s crush. Eventually, in the season finale, Miles and Tristan are playing a hide-and-seek type game with some friends on a stormy night, and as Miles is about to tag Tristan, Tristan threatens Miles with a kiss if he comes any closer. Miles walks up to Tristan and tell him “go ahead.” They kiss and are caught by Miles’ friend, who laments that since Miles is straight, he will only break Tristan’s heart when it never happens again. Later, Miles approaches Tristan to talk about the kiss. Tristan is dismissive and says he understands it was a “heat of the moment” kind of thing, but much to Tristan’s surprise, Miles says that all he knows is that he feels good when he is around Tristan and that the kissing was fun.

I loved this because there was no identity crisis with Miles as is usually the case in TV shows and movies when a heterosexual character (especially male) gets involved with someone of the same sex. He didn’t need to let Tristan down, or remind anyone he’s straight, he simply evaluated his feelings, and accepted that there might be something between them. I really look forward to seeing where things go with Miles and Tristan and hope that the show doesn’t let me down. It’s a great example of how sexuality is fluid, and how sexual identity doesn’t always have to be immediately questioned or evaluated when you have feelings for someone you didn’t expect to.

Coming out as fat

July 27, 2014

I am a fat girl. There, I said it, I’m fat. When I say this, I am stating a factual descriptive characteristic about my body. I am not getting down on myself or fishing for compliments or even saying that I have any problem with being fat. I actually love my body. It took a long time to get there, as I had to combat conventional beauty standards, but I do love my body. I am fat and I am okay with it. This journey of learning self love and acceptance has even made me adopt fatness as an identity because when I say I am fat, people do automatically assume I am insulting myself. Having adopted this identity, and embracing my fatness in a positive way, I am still faced with some interesting challenges in combating the societal idea that fat = unattractive.

Whenever I mention to someone that I am fat the most common response I get is, “you’re not fat.” This is usually because said person finds me attractive and/or thinks I am being insecure about my body. The simple truth is that I fall on some weird in-between skinny and fat based on most people’s standards because when they envision a fat person, they think of some mis-porportioned, out of shape slob. The fact is, fatness comes in varying degrees and proportions, and I am fat. I am healthy (remarkably, as I don’t live a very healthy lifestyle), and I am beautiful, and I am perfectly okay with being fat. To deny that is to invalidate not just my identity as a fat woman, but my hard work to accept and love my body. I am 5’2″ and I weigh between 165 and 180 pounds. I am fat. In fact, according to BMI, I am obese (BMI is a bullshit medical standard, by the way). My proportions are fabulous, and I have a wonderful figure. I have never had any problems finding sexual or romantic partners, so obviously my fatness does not hinder my love life or make me unattractive.

How did I learn to love myself and accept being fat? Well, it was a journey. I have always been fat, even when I was a “healthy weight” I had a belly. I’ve gotten mistaken as pregnant since after puberty by various people. When I first got on birth control, I gained about 30 pounds. This was when I started having insecurities about my weight and body. Then I saw this glorious video and started to re-evaluate my perspective. I then began to look at myself in the mirror every day and said to myself, “I’m fat and it’s okay.” Also, The scene in Pulp Fiction where Fabienne says she wants a potbelly and that women with bellies are sexy gave me a lot of confidence because I have exactly the body she is describing! Another thing that helped me was finding just one part of my body that I was already confident about and focusing on it. For me, it’s my vulva. It’s glorious and beautiful and perfect in every way and I have always found it to be aesthetically pleasing. Having that much confidence about just one part of my body helped me to respect other parts of my body and find them more beautiful. Finally I realized, other people find me gorgeous, so yeah, being fat is not a bad thing.

Shopping sucks, because the fashion industry seems to have this idea that all fat people are proportioned the same way, but when I do find clothes that fit right, I love it. I adore how certain outfits complement my figure. I sometimes wear tight tank tops, and my breasts and my belly are prominently displayed, and I have all the confidence that I am damn sexy. And I am fat. It’s not a bad word. I’ve embraced it, and invite others to do the same. I wish more people could have the confidence I have discovered for myself, because it makes my sex life so much more gratifying, and I waste a lot less time agonizing over what to wear or whether my back rolls are showing. Whether you are fat or skinny or “somewhere in between” learn to love yourself. It will go a long way.