Saturday, February 21, 2009

VAGINA: An Apology and Discussion.

One of my favorite blogs is Mabel's House. Liz, the author, is not only a brilliant writer, but also an amazing interior designer, an incredible photographer, and all around positive yellow light on my internet radar. I found her blog after she commented here on a post I had made, and I am so glad she did. There is nothing I like more than discovering talented, strong women, writing on the net.

I owe Liz an apology. She had made a post defending her choice not refer to "VAGINA" on her blog, and to refer to it as something else. It is her blog and her life. If she doesn't want to say it, she should not have to come under internet scrutiny for not using the word "VAGINA". Well, I had an opinion on that, and like the true loud mouth I am, I expressed it..... Not rudely or anything... But really, it was just not my place to do so... I respect this woman and I love her blog; the last thing I would want to do is offend her, even if I disagree with her.

So, Liz from Mabel's House, I apologize if I set a negative tone on your blog, it was not my intention, and sometimes I just need to butt out.

I know that the topic of "VAGINA" has been beaten to death by way of annoying, one-woman shows, who monologue about their reproductive parts. But, there is nothing I like more than grabbing my wiffle ball bat and going to town on horse carcasses, so here we go!

A few of the women who commented positively on Liz's blog, who were not in favor of "VAGINA", claimed that discussing it was not "Lady-Like". "Lady-like" is a term that has always perplexed me.... What exactly does it mean and why should I try to live by its credence?

Growing up, the "LL" term would be thrown about so willy nilly, that the only way I could interpret it was that acting "LL", meant having no fun and acting like someone who I just am not. I was told to stop running, climbing trees, catching snakes, frogs, toads, fishing for craw daddies, not to get my dress dirty, etc..because it wasn't "LL".

Conversely, I remember being told to sit up straight, (good for posture, good for life), to chew slowly and with my mouth closed, (great for digestion...mine and my table neighbors'), not to fart or belch in public, (very important), to say "please", "thank you", "yes mam/sir", "no mam/sir"...etc (INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT, children need to be taught to share the earth and space with other people) All in the interest of the "LL"... Which I understand.

I was also told not to speak or behave vulgarly, which is the crux of the comments on Liz's blog and this post in reference to "VAGINA".

There are many offensive terms that can be used in place of "VAGINA". Cunt, snatch, slit, cooter, coochie, beaver, bearded clam, fuzzy drain, pooter, poontang, hoo hoo, tootie, pussy, the CUNT, the wet spot...........You get my drift....

The medical term for it is "VAGINA"... How is that vulgar and why are we conditioned to believe so? "VAGINA". It's a "VAGINA".... It wears many hats.... It cleanses, it helps to regulate our hormones, IT GIVES BIRTH TO LIFE...... It's pretty much the essence of the WOMAN. So why is it socially more acceptable to refer to "VAGINA" as some cute, little girl name, or as some secret "down there" place of shame? I'm not ashamed of my "VAGINA". I think my "VAGINA" is pretty fucking fantastic, if I do say so myself... So does The Little Honey (tm), in fact, it may be one of his most favorite things about me.

So why are we as women conditioned to feel shame and disgust towards our reproductive capabilities? I have a theory..... Wait for it....... It's coming....It's going to totally blow your mind.....


That's right, it is their fault.

As usual, the fucking pigs.

Men live for the "VAGINA". Every act they are biologically programmed to perform are geared towards procuring "VAGINA" and planting their seed. Unfortunately, sometimes they desire too much "VAGINA", and cannot realistically satiate their urges. Sometimes, they are ugly, creepy, stupid, and weird, and no "VAGINA" wants to offer herself without compensation.... This causes many men to become frustrated and angry about their lack of "VAGINA" and they start to resent the one thing that makes them tick..... Bitter root, rotten fruit and the like...

When the thought of "VAGINA" enters their mind, they simultaneously become excited and depressed... They start to call "VAGINA" mean names, like cunt... They start to act out against "VAGINA": They rape.... They beat.... They come up with ways of oppression that are not physically violent.. They oppress by way of trying to keep "VAGINA" "down", in the kitchen, under the glass ceiling.....

Their oppression starts to seep into the psyche of "VAGINA" and starts to eat away at "VAGINA's" self esteem, worth, and heart.. "VAGINA" starts to turn against other "VAGINAS".. "VAGINA" starts to feel shame about everything "VAGINA" is.. So she starts to hide and tries to make herself and essence into something sterile and unoffensive.. She starts to refer to herself as "tootie"; she then sprays herself down with "Meadow Breeze" feminine deodorant, because the smell that God intended for her, is too repulsive.... Too "VAGINA" to deal with.... Let us not upset the delicate balance of the patriarchy......

I know this is nothing that has not been said before.. It is redundant, par for the course, Feminism 101..... But it is so shocking and sad that in this day and age, many women see "VAGINA" as offensive and "un-Lady-Like"... "VAGINA" is the essence of "Lady-Like"... It is 100% L A D Y.... You cannot get more "LADY". It's mind boggling.

A few of the commenters on Liz's blog posted about how "LL" is such a rich tradition in the South and the strength of Southern women, and the importance of their traditions, etc, etc. I can respect that up to a point. I like tradition.... I am Swedish, so I still celebrate Santa Lucia, I like to make the Swedish Rosette Cookies.... My German heritage craves pork and sauer kraut on New Years day. I also love the South... It is friendly, the climate is nice, albeit humid, and I am a sucker for Spanish Moss.

However, another big tradition in the South was slavery. People were so stuck on that tradition, the conflict escalated into a civil war. In fact, it seems like there are many traditions in Southern culture that are focused on oppression and repression, (I've seen Prince of Tides), that maybe it would be a good idea to take the route I have taken with Lutfisk and fascism from my heritage, and ditch them?

I don't think that acting vulgarly, or rudely, or violently is ever appropriate.... But, I also think that inhibiting yourself so much, that it makes you physically uncomfortable to refer to one of your body parts by its rightful name, is heartbreaking. What is even more heartbreaking, is the divide this issue causes among women. I don't think for one second that a woman is stupid, or timid, or anything negative because she aspires to the "LL" and "tootie", not at all... But I am always going to be curious as to her reasoning behind that decision. Conversely, my curiosity will more than likely come off as condescending, which in turn furthers the divide, and empowers the patriarchal standards that continue to oppress and harm women.

I just wish that we could all hold hands by the campfire, dance and sing "CumbayaVAGINA" and eat s'mores without fear of breaking out of our size six pants... I really just wish women could be women and accept themselves, appreciate themselves, and ditch these ridiculous standards that we have been conditioned to accept.

Maybe one day?

Friday, February 13, 2009

My New Muse

This chick is crazy!

This little genius reminds me of myself *natch* when I was a girl. Though living on a farm was pretty idyllic as a child, it did get pretty boring with no friends around to goof off with. If I had had access to a video camera, I would have loads of footage of Guinea Pigs in dresses and Cats in pajamas saying weird crap.....

I used to stage wars between the different canned foods in our pantry.....Yep..... until a mouse ran over my hand, and it was pretty much over for me and the pantry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Child Free By Choice

For a woman who has no children with zero desire to have any, I sure spend a lot of time reading "MommyBlogs". I read two "Mommybloggers" frequently, not because of their "MOM" status, but because I like their writing, what they have to say, and how they say it. Hell, for a couple of people I have never met, I like them.

Do I always agree with them? No, of course not.

Does it light this fiery desire to have children deep down in my soul? Fuck no. In fact, more than not, it solidifies my position to not have kids.....

If I were to classify myself, I would consider myself as "childfree by choice"; with step-kids..... So am I really "childfree by choice"? Well, I think so, because I am not their mother. I am a parent to them, in some respects; I give them love, shelter, food, clothing and I pick up after them, but I also value the times I can jet out and tell my Little Honey, "THEY YOURS, YOU DO IT". Plus I have no say in their education, health care, etc. I don't know. If you're confused reading this, imagine how I feel.

I am a confused step-parent who enjoys vodka and time alone. I also enjoy bike rides, taking the kids on new adventures, ghost stories, cuddling and cookie baking.

It's a pickle.... So I would rather not classify myself.

Today I watched a webisode of "Momversation" discussing the "Childfree by Choice" movement. "Momversations" are quick web interviews about motherhood featuring some of the biggest "mommybloggers" in internet land; Dooce, Girls Gone Child, and others. At first I thought the "Momversation" episodes were a little over the top with the "Mommyblogger Obsession" plaguing the internet. (You should read what the haters have to say about these women, it is truly an exercise in envy and cruelty. Fascinating stuff.) I then decided that I will do anything to procrastinate work for a few minutes, including watching something that is completely irrelevant to my life.

Just cuz.

I have to say what makes the decisions on having children versus not having them, the reactions to such decisions on either side of the coin, are what alienates the opposing sides. There is not a whole lot of sympathy or empathy going around. CFBC people are not sympathetic to a parent who has been up for a week straight with a cranky kid, and parents are not sympathetic to a CFBC person's annoyance at their child hanging out under their table at Starbucks, screaming at top volume.

I know these are extreme examples, that's the point.

I think what really surprised the women on this webisode about the CFBC movement is the resentment that people without children feel towards a society that is totally geared towards, and caters to, having children and the children themselves. I don't think that CFBC people hate parents, per se..... They hate marketing, media-bias, and disrespect.

From the moment a person or people have kids, they forget what life was like without them. Your life is not your own anymore, and you know what? That's great. That's your choice, and it is a pretty popular choice. You don't have to walk around feeling alienated, like there is something wrong with you because you don't have the desire to have children. You are not accused of being a "cruel KID HATER", or treated like a freak.

Because I am in my thirties, people think my ovaries are an appropriate conversation topic for lunches, brunches, cocktails, business meetings, what have you. Recently a clerk at the grocery store gave her opinion on my reproductive equipment and my plans for the baby factory. FYI, it is incredibly inappropriate to ask me when I plan on having kids when I am buying lube and tampons, BTW. When I tell people I don't want children, I usually get "Oh, I didn't know you didn't like children", which is just fucking stupid. Just because I don't want kids, does not mean that I hate them. I like them very much... I IDENTIFY WITH THEM.... Sometimes a little too much.

Which is probably why it is a good idea that I abstain from creating any.

I cannot count how many times perfect strangers I have met, have told me that I am ruining my life by not only not having my own children, but for helping my partner raise his...... Right to my face. It's completely disrespectful, gross and annoying. I don't know how many people I have told "where to go", after they have made an inappropriate comment about my baby status.

Also, the pontificating needs to stop.

I am so happy that many people discovered that having kids was their reason for living and that the act of procreating successfully was the most important thing they had ever done. Their biggest accomplishment; their opus. That's fantastic, FOR THEM.

I have been told over and over again by several mothers, all ripe with emotion, tears welling up in their eyes, trying to convey to me the importance of motherhood and how much I am missing out on; fervidly trying to convince me to change my mind...

Yet, not one has stopped to pause on how incredibly condescending and disrespectful they are being towards my decision. You have your children, why are you so concerned about my choice?

Not everyone should become parents. There are plenty of people in this world that should be caring for nothing more than sea monkeys, let alone kids, yet they have dozens. Some nut job in California just had eight babies, because deep down, she thinks she is going to get a TV Show on TLC for it.

Now, I am not excusing the needless vitriol that many of my compatriots spew forth towards kids and parents. I think it is completely ridiculous to call children "crotch fruit" or parents "breeders". It's stupid and completely anti-productive.... You can't scream "INJUSTICE!" when you perceive people as not respecting you, and then turn around and repeat the same kinds of behaviors. Let's not be hypocrites.

Now, I am going to try to put this delicately: PARENTS, CONTROL YOUR KIDS. The public should not have to suffer your child's terrible temperament because you can't get your child under control. I don't care what is wrong with them, it's not my problem. I have a right to sit in a public space and to not be excessively bothered by your child. P E R I O D. I do not love your child unconditionally, nor am I impressed with every little thing that they do. Stop expecting me, or anyone else, to feel that way.

I know I may run into crazy people on the street who will bother me, annoy me, etc.. They have an excuse. THEY are cuckoo bananas. Children who run around in public screaming and refusing to sit down, can help it by way of their parents taking control of the situation and disciplining them. Don't get me wrong, I would never disrespect a parent I did not know in public, and I have had strangers give me unsolicited parenting advice, and it sucks. Please know that I am taking things to the extreme here, in that I don't expect young children to be totally silent and still in restaurants, etc...... But I do expect them to be under control. If your baby is fussy and is screaming for more than thirty seconds, TAKE THEM OUTSIDE UNTIL THEY CALM DOWN. If that doesn't work, IT IS TIME TO GO HOME. I know it sucks. I know you were looking forward to a nice dinner, but the baby has other plans for you. Please respect your fellow patrons' dining experiences as more of a priority than your own. Having a child does entitle parents to many perks, but it does not make them the most important people in the sushi bar.

I began experiencing this phenomenon last year; parents who bring their children and their children's friends to the bar. THE BAR; a place for adults to enjoy adult beverages and conversations. Just because a bar has an outside seating area, does not make it an appropriate place for children. When I am relaxing with my friends smoking ciggarettes, drinking alcohol, and cussing, I don't want to see your children. I especially do not want them bumping into my chair, while they are playing tag on the patio.... AT THE FUCKING BAR. I also don't want to get a dirty look from you when Junior overhears me drop an F-bomb, while I am talking to my friends, relaxing at the bar, which is an establishment for adults.It's no place for children. DON'T BRING THEM. KIDS SUCK TO BE AROUND WHEN YOU ARE DRUNK.

When it comes to my step-kids, they are much easier in public than they were when they were little, but, I am still like a drill sergeant when we are out. Stores are not playgrounds and need to be respected as such. Not everybody is interested in hearing you sing at the top of your lungs, save it for home. Your hands do not belong on other peoples' bodies, ever, so keep them to yourselves. Chew with your mouth closed, stop yelling, and I swear if you grab one more thing that is not yours, I will tie your hands behind your back.

I'm harsh, I am strict and I am honest. The way that society treats kids and people with them, is as though we are all revolving around them and catering to their every whim. It is the biggest lie out there. The world does not revolve around your kids just because your world does. To harbor some sense of entitlement in yourself because you have children, is bullshit.

All it is, is marketing. It is a false sense of superiority put forth by marketing firms to create an illusion that they care about what you are going through. They don't. They care about selling you diapers and they will try any underhanded technique to get your green. It is all just ruse to get you and your kids to spend more money. It's all bullshit. Every person in our society is constantly bombarded with this message, day in and day out.... For those who are not subscribing to the whole "I want babies, yay me!" life style, it is a constant, annoying, and isolating experience. Hence the crankiness.

However, I don't think it is right to find some kind of smug, self-satisfaction while witnessing a parent struggle to deal with their children. If you see a parent struggling with groceries, a stroller, and three kids: HELP THEM. Give them your seat on the bus, help them make sure all of their kids are seated properly; if you see their child slip away from them when they are not looking, POLITELY tell them.

There are fine lines, people.... Don't be a dumbass.

I could really go on an on about this topic. I met a lady a couple of weeks ago that raised this question to me: Since we are no longer an agrarian society that depends on offspring for labor to sustain ourselves, what are the reasons for having children? Is it purely egotistical? Is it survival of the species? Are people who abstain from children hurting the species? Are they just being "selfish"? Or are they altruistically ensuring the survival of the species by minimizing their carbon footprint?

Whatever it is, I believe it is a personal choice that needs to be respected on all sides. I think that we, as human beings, need to be more empathetic and patient with one another, but also just a hell of a lot more respectful to one another.

Maybe some Mothers should realize that we female, CFBCers are the vast minority of women out there. For every one woman who decides to remain childless, there are hundreds of women who decide to become mothers. Those who abstain are quite often philosophically attacked, belittled, isolated, and are subject to having our "femininity" and "essence of womanhood" constantly scrutinized and dissected by strangers.

I know it is not an excuse to be overtly, or overly critical to mothers and parents out there..... But, if you were wondering where the anger that many CFBCers have comes from, you could probably trace it back to that. So next time a single woman rolls her eyes at your screaming child, just remember that even though she is acting like a twat, she may have just had some asshole cross examine her for her choice "Not to be a REAL woman", by not having kids.

Conversely, maybe some of us who don't have kids, can let a busy mom or dad cut in line every once in awhile, or be a little more forgiving when someone is not on their A-game because of sleepless, cranky baby nights or a three child, flu epidemic.....

The world may end up being a little better, if we just tried to respect one another.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bikini Clad and Blowing Up.

1987 was a year of transition for me. I was only eleven years old, entering junior high school in a new town, a hundred miles away from my hometown. My home town was a tiny, corn-producing, fly speck on the map of mid-western, central Ohio.With a meager population of seven thousand people, my ancestors had helped to settle this town and I was born there.

It was all I had ever known.

That summer, my mother packed us into her brand new, "professional" sedan, ("bye bye station wagon"), drove us two hours to our new, three bedroom, ranch style home in a planned neighborhood subdivision, 20 miles outside of the city of Cincinnati. Our rolling 52 acre farm, complete with woods, barns, and a creek, was replaced with Legoland-like blocks of chem-lawn greenery, aluminum sided, brick fronted kit built homes, bike trails, swimming pools and major assholes.

My siblings and I were in complete culture shock. Our friends were replaced with children of our age who were sent to us on arranged, tense, missions that our parents had set up to help the "new kids" adjust to the jungles of suburbia. They didn't like us, but they liked being grounded less, so they were nice to us out of fear of their parents hearing that they were mean to the new kids.

It really fucking sucked. Suburbia breeds wankers. Hence, you will never find the adult me living anywhere near areas with established neighborhood associations whose main mission in life are to squelch any sense of style, or person that would naturally object the inherent nature of a neighborhood association. Seriously, fuck a bunch of people who are going to piss their pants over what color I choose for the plastic shingles that adorn my plastic house.

After a summer of adjusting to our new surroundings, one in which I spent mostly bed ridden, due to a fall in a shower and the impending broken tail bone. Good times. We started school. Boy.....Wankers in your subdivision are bad enough, but when you take all of those wankers and join them with the hundreds of other wankers from the other subdivisions, an astronomical amount of wankerness happens.

It's true.

In 1987, Landen,(TM) Ohio taught me about materialism, racism, false superiority complexes, smoke and mirrors, close mindedness, fear, and three-way calling saboteurs. It was a pretty educational year and I could not wait to get out of that cesspool of minivans and chemically treated grass.

Luckily, 1988 had a surprise in store for me.

My siblings and I started to balance the motion of the ocean and adjust to the mores of the suburban tribe that we were now a part of. Or, at least we tried. I have to say I had an easier time than they did bending myself into aberrant shapes, changing my personality and ideas, so I could swim instead of sink into the muck with the rest of the social rejects. Good lord, you didn't want to find yourself in the cast-away, run off of suburban, junior high school, social barbarism...... You might as well just move.

As I tried my best to "fit in", by way of ill advised cheerleading stints, home perms, perfume and excessive makeup; my brother had started trying his best to "not fit in". He started smoking ciggarettes with a new brand of miscreants, some of which the sacred Landen of milk and honey, had never seen before. A group of kids who had sideways hair, rode skateboards, and wore t-shirts with names I had never seen before. What is a Sex Pistol and can it kill a person? What does Fugazi mean? Are all of the Kennedys Dead? I think I like those Bikini Girls With Machine Guns..... I think I want to be one..........

These people purposefully flung themselves into the "muck of loserdom and outcasts" and relished in their status as "social reject"..... They celebrated it.

They were amazing.

Needless to say, I was inspired. I was done trying to fit in with a group of people, whom I knew at the ripe age of 11, I had nothing in common with, and I really didn't even like. I began to feel a thrill that I had not felt since the last time I ran through a cow pasture after a thunderstorm.


And so it began. And I never looked back.

Lux Interior died yesterday.

The first time I ever laid eyes on Lux and Poison Ivy was during a sixth grade babysitting shift. We didn't have cable at home, and being farm transplants, we had never had cable, so we really didn't know what we were missing. When I would babysit, it was like living in this separate world, one where 10 pm bedtimes, were replaced with HBO and USA late night. It was wonderful.

I don't recall what channel I was watching when I witnessed for the very first time, a man in leopard bikini panties, but I remember the bruise I had after my jaw hit the floor.

That incident would be about 15 months before I would purchase my first Cramps record, or try to duplicate Poison Ivy's makeup on my own face, (I think it took that long for my 11 year old brain to process what I had just witnessed). I remember going in my room, tearing the plastic covering off of Psychedelic Jungle, and falling onto my bed in a cloud of bliss as the sound of Goo Goo Muck started bouncing off of my powder pink walls.

I began to feel that familiar tingle of inspiration deep down and I could almost smell the saturated grass of the summer thunderstorm....It was the tingle and excitement of freedom, and Lux Interior was totally giving it to me.......... and it was awesome. It was sexy, it was dirty, it was scary and it was a fucking thrill.

This would mark the beginning of a life long love affair with The Cramps.

I would see them perform a handful of times, each time different, yet they definitely had a formula. The substance of their art was coarse sexuality and nitty gritty Rock and Roll. Though they were labeled as "Psychobilly", I would argue that there wasn't a damn thing "billy" about them...... They were Rock and Roll incarnate and they made predecessors like the Stones and the Beatles look like little "Nancy Boys" who needed to go back and hide under their mother's skirts.

They were great.

Watching them live was amazing. It's always invigorating to watch a sinewy sex machine, nakedly hump the stage as he crooned to his disciples, whilst his dominatrix wife wailed on the geetar.

Needless to say, I am sad today.

But I am so happy to have lived in a world that once held the creative force and genius that was Lux Interior.... and I am ever so thankful that Lux Interior (and others like him) happened to me, ear fucking me with musical inspiration, freedom, possibility, and raunch.... My life would have been a hell of lot more boring without him.

RIP Lux..... I will miss you.