Trying to be Cinderella, and why I smashed the glass slipper

I have been having a difficult and quite painful time expressing how I felt about this for a long time.

I’ve written probably a hundred personal journal entries trying to describe my discontent with my relations with men, romantic or otherwise. But it’s been easier to separate myself from men when I haven’t involved myself with them sexually, and so I feel I have been much more likely to dismiss my pain.
Children are given toxic ideas about love throughout their indoctrination into the patriarchal culture. Such as movies like “Beauty and the Beast” to books such as “Twilight”. Women are taught to romanticize all of men’s abusive traits. And between this, and witnessing and experiencing male violence from a young age, I had a really hard time standing up for myself and from escaping these types of situations.
I’ve learned a lot about the ways in which men keep women below them and submissive to them through the process of working on my trauma that I am not to blame. and I am not to blame. The root of this problem, is male dominance.
The next thing I have realized while trying to rewire my brain after my trauma, is that I have always put more energy and more emotional investment into my relationships with men, and have always felt that my needs always came last.
I heard other women complain of this as well, but never connected it to male and female socialization until I was introduced to feminism.

And I have had a hard time coming to terms with it. So to a certain degree, I understand how easy it is to dismiss these feelings and to internalize them.
It’s not like I felt like I could bring this up with any man I was in a relationship with because I had this uncontrollable fear of being alone.
Women are damned into one of two subordinate roles. The first is the submissive and nurturing woman, the one who cares the most and is cared about the least. Or as social media would term it, “wifey material”. The Belle, the Cinderella, The Snow White. You get the point. Women are taught from a young age that the pure and worthy women devote their lives to a man, it is her paramount that she marry and remain faithful. And by doing this, she will be praised but on the contrast, men are taught the extreme opposite, that they should have as many sexual partners as possible, and that if emotionally committed to a woman, they are “whipped” and she is demonized for “holding him back” and so in and so forth.

Not only does this create a cycle whereby women are always subject to heart break and/or emotional abuse but to be completely to the point, because I don’t really know how else to say it, it makes us feel worthless. And what’s worse is when we can’t name the root of the problem. A woman will just become frustrated trying to express it and blame herself, and try to change.

The feeling is this-No matter the energy we put in, we will never, as a woman, be worth the same emotional commitment as a man. A man deserves loyalty, women are just there to fill his desires. I assert that women, on the whole, suffer more pain in and after relationships than men do on the whole do to this socialization.

Women only exist in their relationships with men. In an attempt to gain back my dignity, I recall, after this had happened to me once, I had tried to “act more like a man” sexually, feeling that I could have sex without any emotional attachment, without the thought of a commitment, with a man and this would guard my heart. It failed miserably because it truly wasn’t what I wanted and I knew all I wanted was the same commitment and emotional investment from a man that I was willing to put in.

Not to mention, I was placed in into the second subhuman category that I mentioned earlier, “slut”, meaning that I was meant to be a sex object and was no longer even worthy of being considered as a life long partner. So either way I felt I would never get the treatment I believed I deserved. When I realized this was a common, and I began to delve deeper into the problem, I came to the conclusion that having equal relationships with men can hardly be expected and so what was I to do?

I already had it in my head for some time that it was necessary for me to find a man, get married, have kids, buy a house… But I’ve trashed the idea of marriage all together trough my growth and understanding in feminism.

It’s clear to see the validity of political celibacy, female separatism, and political lesbianism as radical options that have been adopted by many radical feminist. Even if I haven’t accepted this for myself,  radical feminism has given me the language to be able to name the problem.
The way that men are taught that commitment to women was an act of throwing away their dignity and the throwing away of experiencing having sex with many women, (which is seen as being of major importance because this is supposed to be the way in which exist on this planet, to serve men’s sexual desires) is so heavily joked out throughout movies and other forms of media.

He left her for a younger woman, he cheated on her with the house sitter and “What was he supposed to do? They had been married for so long!” And “What did she really expect? This is just how men are.. Every marriage goes through it.” And it was always her fault, she got old, she gained weight, her sex drive went down.

But women are told, don’t you dare express that you think you’re anything more than a gas station, a rest stop for men while they are on the road to bigger and better things. It’s you’re duty to fill him up, fill his desires. But don’t worry sweetheart, just wait. Continue to be subservient because maybe a man will come along who truly values you and will emotional invest himself in you the way you have with him. Maybe it won’t be a waste… and this is just what we are taught to.

And it boils my blood thinking how I’ll never be able to articulate this the way I want. It will never be a very coherent because of the worthlessness I feel as I write it. The subject becomes too personal to me and I just hope I have done myself some justice by actually writing it out, for the few wonderful, good noodles, that will read read this, finally.

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Boycotting Thanksgiving

My spirit aches as we grow closer to thanksgiving. And though it may celebrated by many, though many Americans invest much time and energy into gathering around the family dinner table on thanksgiving day, and though it may be painful to face the genocide and degradation of land caused by colonization, these are issues still relevant today. The importance of our understanding outweighs the delight in the overindulgence and gluttony.

So before you go out and buy the turkey, consider the impact we may have on political consciousness if a large enough portion of us, opt out of the celebration of thanksgiving.

The fact that white settlers colonized this land, killing millions upon millions of Native Americans, and raping the native women, is no longer a widely disputed one. This
violent dominance over life and of earth are still present, and are protected by interrelated, oppressive institutions. This monster only grows in strength with our compliance, our willingness to contribute, and our apathy.

Before white colonization, the estimated number of Native Americans living on this land was over 10-12million. By the year 1900, that number drops to less than 300,000. Some historical estimates show the number to be as low as 15,000. Centuries upon centuries of disease, malnutrition, genocide, rape, and torture. Centuries of human suffering. Native Americans had little to be thankful for.

But even after mass extermination had ended, did along with it end the suffering of Native Americans? Are their ancestors now finally resting peacefully in their graves in a land of justice and equality? I would say no, a capital N and a capital O. The suffering of Native Americans has waged on throughout the years, in fact, it was not until 1968 when the Indian Civil Rights Act was passed, that Native Americans gained the right to free speech, to a jury, and to protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

The attitude of domination hasn’t gone away to this day and capitalism only serves as an excelerent as more land is stolen, destroyed, and exploited. What is going on with the Dakota Access Pipeline is a perfect example of this. Obviously, not the first pipeline to be built, and it will not be the first to destroy Mother Earth and poison our drinking water. The harm to fragile ecosystems and the subjugation of humans is the number one dividing wall between us and the interconnected universe.

But the fire of passion and love for all things sacred is still prevalent as well, and grows stronger with support and the spread of knowledge. We can see this fire within the souls of the water protectors, protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

There has been a complete mainstream media blackout on this issue, for it reveals the corruption of our government, the violence of the rich, and the loyalty of our government to big oil companies.

Our need for food, for air, for soil, and for water is universal. A threat to our planet and to our very lives is a very uniting issue. The most threatening thing to the big man on top is our unity.

The best way we can prevent the suffering of humans, animals, and the planet, is to join them in the fight. If you can’t do that, the next best thing is to use whatever talents we have, to spread knowledge and inspiration. History has shown the power of creativity in fueling the desire to act. The last thing I will purpose, and I do believe this to be important, is to boycott thanksgiving.

No longer celebrate the genocidal history of United States. No longer show acceptance of this way of life with your dollar. Don’t buy the fucking turkeys, don’t bother with it. And for the love of the divinity, let us please, boycott Black Friday, that date alone is the celebration of economic slavery, and has caused deaths. We need to honor more virtuous ways of life and make a statement that the wickedness of white male supremacy, and it’s horrendous body count has been exposed.

The Vengeful Siren

Within the ocean I sleep, on a bed of entrancing earth. My body embellished by scales and coated with sapphire and violet hues, lucid and animated.

My hair, a luminous and almost translucent white, dances with the water, and every once in a while, kisses my face.

My fin reaching far beneath me, long and slender. I move throughout the blue abyss with power and with spirt.

Divine, but neither angelic or demonic. Free from societal constraints.

My eyes glowing with purity of violet.

I am in harmony, with all elements of our universe, but powered by the element of water. An empath by nature, and an empath by virtue.

The voice I have echoes the power of the goddess, and the passion lives deep within my psyche.

I sing to the undersea life, I enchant them with the hum of my tenderness and energy.

This is my natural state of being. This is how it is supposed to be. Harmonious.

But my consciousness senses suffering. My spirt uneasy, from the beginning of the male order.

This violent societal order has disrupted the spiritual connection of all.

I hear the demolition of my mother above the surface. I hear the collective suffering of my sisters on land. With the fire residing in my soul, my voice is louder than the voice of any man.

With the same voice that has enchanted the world of the sea, I evoke the curiosity of naive sailor men.

I rest my head on the boat, and look into the faces of these men. These are faces I cannot see with empathy.

Infatuated by my aura, they follow me for a swim. I devour them whole.

I first sink my teeth into their throat so nobody will hear them scream. I tear their flesh, my savagery fueled by the collective pain of the female spirt.

Homicidal by brokenness and desperation. Broken by the commonality of suffering. Desperate to save the natural order of the universe.

I save the hearts, and lay them out across the shore. I write with their blood amongst the rocks. My message is clear.

And will continue to do so as long as my sisters are suffering, as long as the earth is destroyed.

Rooted In Misogyny

It’s devastating enough that prostitution is not a subject that many in society care about. Even among social justice groups, the topic doesn’t come up nearly enough, and when it is brought up, many will attempt to frame it in brighter light. They even claim that it’s empowering.

The same seems to be true with pornography. In fact, even people I have discussed this with that agree that prostitution is actually sexual slavery, don’t take the same stance on porn. I thought the similarities between the two would be completely barefaced. There are many things about the two that are widely unknown by the general public.

But these are things that we can talk to people and educate them about. The drug addictions, the coercion… What deeply disturbs me the most, however, is if you understand what consent is, there is no possible way you could still support prostitution or pornography. So is it that there is an extreme lack of understanding of consent?

I really like the way that Catherine Mackinnon points out that oppressors will not typically come out and say things like “I am pro inequality” or I am “pro slavery” but rather they define inequality in such a way that they can still have whatever it is that they want to keep, without it falling under the definition of inequality.

So let’s talk for a moment about the arguments that are so commonly heard in support of prostitution. We hear that it’s is,

1. A universal practice, and therefore natural in some way.
2. The oldest profession
3. Consensual- Consent comes from the act of accepting payment
4. Stigmatized because it is illegal, and should be recognized as legitimate work
5. A form of sexual empowerment

So, looking at these arguments, it is clear to see that the majority of them are actually the same thing we hear about pornography as well. However, if I were to make a list for the arguments I’ve heard in support of pornography, they would probably be this,

1. Is universal
2. Is consensual by acceptance of payment
3. They are well paid and well treated
4. Stigmatized because of the way society views sexuality
5. A form of sexual empowerment
While I agree that prostitution and pornography seem to be almost universal, I would not conclude that it is good, natural, or safe.

Let’s first tackle what it actually means to consent to sex. This should be a no brainier but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway. Consent is an enthusiastic yes, without influence of drugs or alcohol, and absent of coercion, persuasion, or threat.

Some argue that the threat of poverty, and need of payment alone are included under coercion or threat. I would agree. Many would agree that these are the primary reasons that women find themselves involved in pornography, or find themselves being prostituted. Though many would argue, I also want to put forward the idea that nobody chooses to be impoverished. There are systems in place that keep people in power over others and poverty is devastating for anybody experiencing it. And if you are desperate for money or food, you will act desperately.

Handling poverty is much easier when you’re high or drunk, this isn’t a fact anybody should be disputing, given the fact that we have all had a glass or two to handle the pain we feel, and many women in the sex industry use drugs to handle the trauma of having sex they don’t want, as a means of being able to disassociate.

This is simply what happens when a women is forced to sell her body and humanity, wether it be by force, manipulation, or economic circumstances. Not to mention, pimps use drugs in prostitution in order to keep the women docile, unbelievable, and easily manipulated. Just listen to any survivor’s story, they’ll tell you. Where does this fall under consent?

Let’s look at some statistics. Sex-crimes.laws.com shows the following astonishing statistic, among many other statistics, this is the one that really stood out the most.

92% of women say that they would leave prostitution but can’t, due to lack of money or food.

iamatreasure.com/about-us/statistics shows us statistics for the sex industry as a whole, and with pornography taken into account, the number of women who would like to escape but can’t, is still at a horrendous 89%.

Again, this is sex they do not want. If you wanted to have sex, there would be no need for payment. How does this fall under consent?

Statistics taken from iamatreasure.com also show that 66%-90% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children. This shows the deep rooted misogynistic culture that this industry is able to thrive on.
This shows a repeated re-traumatization of these women. In fact, statistics taken from the same site show that women suffer post traumatic stress disorder in the sex industry, at the same rate as veterans who have faced combat (69%).

Imagine signing a contract as a pornography actress, you don’t meet the man you are being payed to have sex with, as it would be the same in prostitution, and you decide you do not want to have sex with this man but are now obligated to do so for fear of losing your contract and possibly having the threat of a lawsuit for breaking said contract, just like a prostituted person would face threats of a different nature- the sex is unbearable. It’s torture to you, and he does things to you that you never consented to. To cope with the trauma, maybe next time you go, you’re high on drugs because you already know the torture you are about to endure- as the way it is in prostitution. Again, this is sexual trauma. This is coercion.

Though prostitution is widely regarded as being more dangerous, as you must take into account the safety that these men feel to torture these women, is significantly more when operating underground. This isn’t to say that women in pornography do not face a horrendous amount of torture, coercion, and sexual trauma, as I hope I have been able to demonstrate to you. The similarities of the experiences of women in the sex industry as whole, should be completely obvious.

How does this fall under consent? How does this fall under empowerment? How does this fall under freedom of choice?
And if it were not rooted in the oppression of women, then why are the buyers mainly men? Why are the viewers of porn mostly men? (2 in 3). Why do women take up the large majority of the prostituted?

I’m honestly tired of even having these debates, because as I have said over and over again, it should be completely barefaced, the sexual slavery in both prostitution and pornography. The way that the patriarchal industries are able to operate, should be obvious. Both are heavily rooted in misogyny and perpetuate misogyny.

I assert that pornography itself is nothing but violent, patriarchal propaganda. The manipulation that occurs within a man while he is sexually pleasing himself is one that cannot be argued. It is this deep brain washing that is needed for the patriarchy to strive, for men to retain dominance. And the beliefs that men form about women while watching porn are the beliefs that allow other misogynistic systems, such as prostitution to exist. The same brainwashing of men makes any argument against this sexual slavery, easy to dismiss.

Pornography acts as both a cause and an effect. And until this institution is taken down, there will be no hope for the liberation of women. When talking of social conditioning, we must take into account the conditioning that comes with pornography.

Let’s not be blind to the dangers that face these women, or the effect it has on women in society as a whole. Let’s not leave women in the sex industry out of the discussion.

A Letter To Younger Me

I know it’s hard, little girl
to live the life you have right now
I know your hurting, and I feel your pain.
I know that your confused, the boys at school treat you differently than they used to.
Your best friend, whom you would pick flowers and roll in the mud with, isn’t that sweet boy anymore.
The childhood games may have stopped but that doesn’t mean nobody is playing games.
He’s called you a whore, the same thing you heard your daddy call your mommy once.
Speaking of your daddy.
He isn’t the same these days is he?
You were daddy’s little girl once. But then something happened and that went away.
Ignore the men that yell at you on the way to the bus stop.
Don’t let them get to you.
Don’t fixate on the the adverts you’ll pass on your way there.
Don’t let them make them question your body.
In fact, just stop walking for a minuet.
Wrap your arms around your body and give yourself a hug.
And remember….
The girl on that billboard is hurting too.
I know, little girl, that school is hard.
I know what’s in the magazines and on the television…
But please don’t skip that meal.
Eat all of your food and love yourself.
I know you’ve been told to stay away from that girl,
And I know it’s hard to make friends when the society you live in tells you not to trust other women,
But talk to her anyway. She could use a friend.
I know that that boy in the hallway is always commenting on your looks.
I know it makes you feel unsafe and you look at the floor every time you pass.
Punch him in his fucking face.
Little girl,
Don’t go out with him.
He doesn’t respect you.
Remember when you gave him a chance last time?
Remember when he pushed you against the wall because he was just so angry?
That behavior doesn’t get better.
It only gets worse.
Little girl,
Please love yourself.
This world will try really hard to break you.
Trust the women you will meet in your life and empower one another.
Burn the adverts which objectify women in your home town.
Never allow yourself to be silenced.
And always remember,
Speak loud and take up space.

The User Friendly Empowerment

Empowerment- A word being dragged through the mud in many liberal feminist spaces. By dictionary definition, to empower something, literally means to give power to. When I think of empowerment, I think of it in terms political power, economic power, and social power. I don’t necessarily think of empowerment on an individual level, or to better put it, I don’t think of empowerment as “user friendly”. If you ask me, there are systems that are either, inherently empowering, inherently disempowering, and neutral. A couple examples would be, drinking juice is not an inherently empowering act, you’re just drinking juice. And partaking in beauty practices is inherently disempowering, etc.
I think this is where I finally realized what it meant to actually be radical. Throughout liberal feminist circles, I have seen the use of the word “empowerment” in what I will call a “user friendly” way. Meaning that, they are not necessarily critically examining the rituals we perform or the systems we partake in, and wether those things are inherently empowering or disempowering, but rather leave it to the individual to decide, and assert that the word can be used to describe any individual’s choices, regardless of the society’s impact on that individual.
But I argue that for the purpose of political and cultural change, we must not look at empowerment as being user friendly, and we must use the word more sparingly.
The hard truth that no liberal feminist wants to face is, the feeling you get from making any choice, isn’t actually what gives you power, it’s how that choice effects your life and society as a whole. Drawing some lines on your face will never open the doors to any real political or social change, in fact, it only serves as a survival mechanism. Wearing heels sharp enough to cut a man will never address the male supremacy we all live under, nor will it actually help survivors of domestic abuse or sexual assault. I’m not asking anybody to completely change entirely, how they live their lives. I am also not asserting that performing femininity is something you should be shamed for, especially since femininity is something I view as being entirely socially constructed. All I am asking for is honesty. With the situation I am personally in, it is not easy for me to opt out of performing sex-based social roles. In fact, I can’t tell you how many jobs I have been denied from for my less than feminine appearance. I’ve been asked to go to the restroom to apply makeup at many of the places I have worked. I have even been fired from a job for refusing to wear makeup and more “feminine” clothes. Seriously, I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried. So, I wear makeup. I straighten my hair in the morning, as well as trim my eyebrows and shave my body. I do these things because it’s a means of survival, and after awhile it even starts to feel good because I am so conditioned to actually hate my natural face. None of these things has ever brought me any kind of power. And wether I perform these rituals or not, I will never be safe from male violence, I never get to opt out of the patriarchy. And so, the option I am left with is to change it. And to be perfectly clear, I am not afraid, when I perform these rituals, of the “swerfs and terfs” coming out to shame me for that choice. Because those women have a better understanding of these degrading practices better than any of you ever will. And it’s those same women that created the rape crisis center I was able to go after my assault. And it was a radical feminist that held me in her arms after my case had been thrown out the window.
I turned down my last job offer actually, because of their dress policy for women, compared to their policy for men. I boycotted one of my places of work for turning a blind eye to sexual harassment, and significantly affected their business. That felt empowering.
So, liberal feminists, I beg of you. Let’s be real about the situation at hand. And for the very few of you who may read this, what is empowerment to you? How can we work to achieve it?

Gender

Gender is not an identity. It’s a hierarchy. Gender was never something I adopted, it was something that was done to me.

Gender is what told me that a real woman, was the perfect victim. Silent, submissive, and emotional.

Gender is what tells men that real men, are the perfect predators. Violent, angry, and cold.

Gender is what is used to place me into a subordinate class.

Gender is socialization. The boxes we are put on based on our biological sex

Gender is a pseudo-science. It can be destroyed, it never existed in the first place.

If gender were innate, society wouldn’t have to try so hard to force us into those boxes.

Gender hurts.

The concept of gender must be destroyed for women to be truly liberated.