Pushy is Not Passionate

feminist body

Cheyenne Jackson

Lately, as we see debate of women’s rights erupt even more so in the social media world I find myself contemplating what constitutes as acceptable and breaching women’s rights. Personally I wouldn’t say I am an extremist but I am a feminist if you must put a title on it. I try to avoid titles but the fact that there even is a term for belief in equality of women proves that there is still a need for awareness here. We don’t hear the term masculanism thrown around do we? Even if we did hear this it would likely not connect in our minds to any of the similar ideals of feminism.  Does it not also say something that spell check does not even recognize this word?

There are the main areas our minds jump to when we hear the phrase feminism but what if we are not even acknowledging the every day-to-day situations where we are pushed passed our boundaries of comfort and security; The moments we have begun to consider normality in our lives as females.

An issue we still face in society today is the belief of entitlement. I hate accepting a drink from a guy at the bar because I know where his mind is going. I have experienced men getting upset when I say no to an invitation home at the end of the night although I never asked for a drink nor did I lead them on with flirtatious suggestion. We do not deserve to be treated disrespectfully just because we are not giving you our bodies. In no manner does anyone have a right to what is yours. While at Sasquatch Music Festival I met a guy at a show one evening. In the beginning he seemed pretty cool so we made plans to meet up the next day but it didn’t take long to realize I didn’t have much of a connection with him. For some reason I still let him kiss me but all of a sudden he came on extremely strong. When I told him I wanted to leave he made comments that I was no fun and not “freaky like I looked”. Sorry dude but I wasn’t trying to channel that I wanted to get freaky, possibly you shouldn’t make judgments?  He continued to stick with me for the next while as I continuously tried to brush him off.  I failed to stand up for myself in a reluctance to not be offensive, yet I was hearing constant criticism from him the more he realized that he was not getting anything. Whether female or male, no one deserves to be subjected to someone knocking you down. Why didn’t he walk away? Because he thought he might still get in my pants. Why didn’t I walk away? Because I was being an idiot. It took me until he actually shushed me and asked if I was going to fuck him or not to give a clear enough message and walk away.  I am not a supporter of misandry; I am no man hater that is for sure. I love men. I love people, but why in our modern world today do people so often still have such close minded outlooks and think they can treat others in such a manner.

To be honest in past situations I have slept with men just because I did not know how to stop it. I am sure I am not alone in this either. As crazy as that sounds I found it was almost easier to follow through with it than to build up the confidence to escape the situation. I saw this as a flaw in myself as media has brainwashed us to believe that this behavior in men can be acceptable, making the woman simply promiscuous for allowing it to happen. How corrupt is this idea? As a friend stated a great point to me, “We raise women to avoid and prepare for situations but we do not always raise men to deter from them.”

We need to change the way we approach this as a society. Men need to realize that consent is not lame to ask for but extremely desirable. Pushy is not passionate. Just because a girl may not have the confidence to say no does not mean she is saying yes. There are many areas in life that pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone can be rewarding but when it’s concerning our rights and feeling of self worth this is not one of them.

This is just one example of challenges women face but there are many occurrences in our lives we no longer even acknowledge as abnormal but have accepted as reality. Our perception of reality needs to change. In saying all of this I am not discrediting male rights in any matter as I believe bringing equal attention to this is also important in having equality for women. We need to view every category with equivalence. A fact brought to my attention recently was that more than 40% of domestic violence victims are male. A study was conducted to see the reaction of bystanders during female violence against a man and vice versa. People were quick to intervene in defense of the woman but laughed or ignored the situation when the male was victimized. We raise men from the beginning with phrases and ideologies that portray they must suppress their emotions and be dominant. We need to be conscious of how we are raising our children; the messages we are giving society. I like the quote from Gloria Steinem which states, ‘We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like daughters.’ There is an unrealistic expectation on both genders and if we can dissolve this and be more open with others in turn we may be more open with ourselves. Stand up for your rights but be mindful of others’. To find balance we need Yin and Yang. Moon and Sun. Feminine and Masculine. To find balance we need equality.

 

Cheyenne Jackson is a consciousness enthusiast from Calgary. Recently rediscovering her love for writing while blogging throughout travels in Asia. You can connect with Cheyenne on Her Instagram, ToukaKoukan or check out her blog, http://jinseiryoukou.wordpress.com

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Belly Rubbing Buddha

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So, everyone is having babies and I’m still looking for The One. I am reading some Teal Scott to help me awaken the feminine within, all the while growling and humming. I meditate, imagining myself on top of a mountain and wondering why some guys won’t answer my texts.

Going through some baby blues at age 25 is perfectly understandable. I am taking care of things like learning skills, maturing, learning how to love. There is a dire primitive force at work, so much that I went and purchased a fertility soap a while back, which I still keep hidden in a drawer. Somehow I am scared I might get impregnated in my sleep by the Holy Spirit, and ideas like that gain momentum when I am watching a Jean-Luc Godard movie.  If I was looking for a sign, then there it is.

The time is ripe and/or will never really be. A lot of girls my age are putting off baby plans well in their lovely thirties, once they’ve eluded amassing the necessary economic confidence of a steady job and a cleared debt.

I, however, have been off the pill for a while now. That decision came along with my soaring disdain for Western medicine and the realization that sex is very sacred to me, so I have adopted a very self-loving, spiritual and chaste sexuality. I may have found a way to pin my social awkwardness on that choice, patriarchally speaking. I felt a lot of frustration against the traditional idea of partnership: the cataloguing of preferences and easy replacement of one another, especially when I caught myself objectifying the men I claimed to love. When I did end up falling in love, in the ideal land of no expectations, it ended up messy, unrequited and obsessive.

In my case, embodying the idea of the feminine had to do with somewhat distinguishing myself from my male counterparts. In conversations I had with some of them, their distinction between sex and love was physically significant, whereas in my romantic melodramatic perspective, I don’t consider them as two different subjects. I wish not to stereotype male and female, as we are all carrying a very dual gender within ourselves, but I find myself before a mystery I can easily compare to the spiritual enigma of faith, and that is where I discover the polarity at play.  I now feel a pressing need not to compete with the male energy, if only for the sake of creation. The idea is to perform a yin tai chi act on the matter. It is not about counteracting yang’s play, which tires faster and entices more of that opposing force (even so within ourselves!). Instead, yin ‘allows’ the energy and lets it subside, looking gracious and clever.

This newfound attitude towards the feminine springs every part of me into wanting to make a baby with the man I love, and go with it as a wonderful addition rather than as a load of responsibilities.  Whatever way we find to align ourselves with our inner femme, it is nice to take notice of the importance of woman and the unconditional love she harvests.

So here I am, looking at this curvaceous soap, vibing with the moon and all the new moms surrounding me, and I can’t help but notice how beautiful and powerful we women are, even if on a more subtle level, as male entity is traditionally transpiring a more ‘provider’ and material orientation, whereas motherhood comes full with strength and intuition. It is funny to witness men pace and wonder how to be useful, but then again, they are packed with light and cheerfulness.

On my part, the need to work from home and to raise my own kids is intensifying, with a tingling look out the window to see hubby chopping wood or scrambling to build our sustainable haven. I would be creating that dream with a man, but it would be nice to have him take care of the ‘big’ stuff and be a great cook, while I am busy giving excruciatingly amazing life.

Carolina Longo is a 25-years-old Montreal native.  She enjoys the works of André Breton, Jean Cocteau, William Blake, Max Ernst as well as Rumi and Binaural Beats on a rainy day. She crafts clothes and wings while listening to Terence McKenna and plays drums to release.

Femininity and the Hairless Norm

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From an early age, I knew that women shaved their legs and armpits and that men grew their hair long and that those were the gender constructs I would eventually be placed into. As a child with hair on my legs, it was acceptable because I did not have to worry about being suitable for the male gaze yet. One summer, I was eight and I remember swimming in the lake at a cottage we rented with my family, seeing my aunt with unshaven armpits and being disgusted. This is such an insignificant event but out of all my childhood memories, it sticks clear as day. Even at age eight, I had been conditioned to hate the hair on a woman’s body and view it as untamed, gross and unfeminine.

As I grew into adolescence, I was a late bloomer, hence I didn’t have hair under my armpits for a very long time but I did have hairy legs. I was one of the last ones to shave because I wasn’t really sure how to do it properly, and I thought that I could just hide my legs from my classmates to avoid being ridiculed. I still remember feeling the shame of having hair there and pulling up my socks to cover any trace of my ignorance regarding “femininity”.

I eventually realized that life would be very stressful and that hiding my legs would not work in the sweltering heat. I started waxing my legs, and then was taught by my sister how to shave. Through reflecting on these feelings that have been with me almost my whole life and noticing other women’s relationship to their body hair, I find myself wondering why something that is naturally on our bodies for warmth and protection has become something that women spend hours laboriously trying to remove in order to achieve this unattainable ideal of a hairless neotenic female. The media constantly shows women with no body hair in ads for shaving products and waxes, and those in the public eye who try to excuse themselves from this construct are ostracized or punished in one way or another.

A close friend of mine, Petra Collins, is a feminist artist and photographer. She posted a photo of her bottom half in a bikini with pubic hair sticking out of her panties on Instagram. This image did not violate any of the rules and regulations of the website, yet it was reported and her account was deleted. This sickens me, because although some may say it is only an Instagram account, it is so much more than that.  How can we love our bodies and ourselves when a website that is supposed to be a place to share artistic photos with friends and give artists a platform to display their photography, is taking away a young woman’s freedom to display herself proudly, in her natural form?

The feminine ideal that has been created is out of hand and is causing subconscious damage on women’s feelings towards their bodies. A completely hairless body is not attainable for any woman who passed puberty, and even if attained for a short period of time, the hair will grow back, and with it the shame and disgust with one’s body.

Although I do believe that the disgust with female body hair is ridiculous, I am not saying that I always let all of my body hair grow naturally in protest: I do feel more sexual and beautiful with shaved legs, whether because I have been conditioned by society to feel that way, or that I naturally like the feeling of smooth skin. At other times, I’m lazy and I don’t care about being shaved: I feel fine with the hair on my legs. I don’t think that it needs to be a black or white situation where you must either fully shave and submit to the feminine ideal, or be completely natural in order to be a feminist.  I am not saying that a woman covered in body hair should be the ideal, but rather that  it should be the choice of each woman to be hairy or hairless, much like men with facial hair. Some women do really enjoy having smooth legs, but some women prefer to have hair, and our constructs for “femininity” should honour both of these choices.

Photo: Petra Collins
Sophie grew up in Toronto, Ontario, where her love for creating and performing subsequently pushed her to attend an arts high school. She then moved to Montreal to undertake a Major in Theatre at Concordia University, where she will graduate in 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.