Saturday, June 3, 2017

Product Review: Trojan Lubricants--Chain Reaction


"Watch the sparks fly when you start a Chain Reaction!" 

So, quick review for the first try. I love Trojan brand condoms, but this was my first try of their lubricant  line. I will give it another try because, well, the first try wasn't the best. I was pretty excited for non-stop thrills and mind-blowing sensations; Unfortunately, I gotta say, it didn't live up to my expectations. You'll want to make sure you already have the product out of the box before committing to sexy time activities, lest you need to rip open a veryyyyy secured box (that threatens to take off the new gel set nails you got the other day), making for a bit of an awkward pause.
One the lube is out of said packaging, I would suggest maybe doing a patch test on a different part of your skin to see how you react to it. The packaging says-"Both partners may experience sensations of warming, heat, cooling, and/or tingling [...] at different levels of intensity."
Imagine my reaction when a slight cooling sensation gave way to a warming one that rose level after level until my entire vaginal area felt like it was on actual fire🔥. After several seconds of me continuously asking "how does it feel, it isn't burning you?" I couldn't take it anymore and had to grab the nearest towel to wipe it off. I tried to hold out for the chain reaction sensations to show up (was reeeeeally hoping for that cooling again), but I couldn't handle the pain. Even the towel wasn't enough and I needed to douse a cloth in cold water to soothe my burning skin.
My partner said that, outside of a little bit of a warming sensation, it felt like normal lubricant to him. Given this information, I feel it necessary to give it one more shot before deciding this isn't the product for me. So right now I say see how it works for you--but proceed with caution.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sex Ed Podcast/Video Series!!



I'm officially a #sexgeek! Finally got my @reidaboutsex shirt. I figured it was time to update my social media pictures, too :P

Why am I a sex geek? Because I am devoted to continuously educating myself and others about our bodies. I want to help others the way I have needed help in the past. I want to be a person someone can come to when they need advice or just to rant.

Starting later this month, I'll be launching a video/podcast series. It will start out with episodes on basic anatomy and functions of the human body (in regards to sexual development), as well as cover current events in the sex world. I'm hoping to get some interviews and other interesting things going, too. If education and supporting people who want to educate is something that is important​ to you, please check out my page and share with others. I appreciate all of the support I've gotten thus far and I hope you all continue to support me as I try new things!!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Your Uterus Isn't Making You Fat

People--THIS. IS. NOT. TRUE.

I've unfortunately seen it shared enough that I felt it necessary to share on my page. This is just another issue of our education system not properly teaching children about their own bodies. I guarantee either this anatomy professor did not say this, or the student misinterpreted what was being said.

Here is a simple picture of your uterus--
Hold up your fist. That is about the size of your uterus. Your uterus is also very deep inside of you. If it is protruding from your body--go to the hospital. That should not happen. Also, the lower part of your belly that is usually a little 'pooch'--that's super normal. Most normal thing in the world. It is the bodies preferred spot to store fat and it is usually the very last place people lose fat. It IS possible as a woman to have a flat stomach--but it is very hard work. Your organs are not preventing you from getting a flat stomach. Plus, some women don't have a uterus. Also, men don't have uteri--how do they have belly fat?!
Here is the uterus in the body--


ALSO--a lot of women have a pelvic tilt, causing their pelvic region to tilt outwards, making it look like your stomach is more protruding than it is. There are ways to fix a tilt. Just google 'fixing a pelvic tilt' and you will see all kinds of answers.

Anterior and Posterior Pelvic Tilts--


I can't fault people of our generation for believing things like this. I remember being shown a quick view of the reproductive organs in 8th grade but I probably wasn't paying attention. And just like that--the lesson was over and never mentioned again. People--if you aren't taught about your own body, learn it anyways. You should know how your body works and where your parts sit within you. 

Also--don't believe tumblr posts. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Satisfyer Review!!

A few weeks ago, I was on vacation visiting some friends. While there, I received an email from German-based company Satisfyer. I had never heard of them before, and they wanted to send me some of their toys to review. Obviously, I said yes. When I returned home two days later, my package was already there. I didn't even know it was possible to receive something from the other side of the globe that quickly, so I was impressed right off the bat.

They sent me three of their models--Satisfyer 2, Satisfyer Pro 2, and the Satisfyer Pro Penguin.
I've owned small toys before and enjoyed them. I gotta say, none of them really stick out in my mind. They've done the job they were there to do, but that is about it. These things though...wow. They are oral sex simulators--and they simulate it very well. The biggest issue with these is that you aren't going to have a long, slow personal-pleasure session. These things get the job done fast. Their YouTube channel has videos showing how to use their products.





Satisfyer 2--These model is battery-operated and takes 2 AAA batteries. Luckily, I had my remote nearby and was able to steal them for a few minutes. This ergonomic design has a long, sleek handle that widens near the top. It is very easy to hold. To turn it on, you hold down the power button until it starts. There are 11 different functions. This is where this toy is different from other vibrators/dildos on the market. Most adult toys for women have a little bulb on the top that vibrates, allowing you to place it against your clit. This one is a hole at the top with a little tab inside that vibrates up and down like the tip of a tongue. All you have to do is kind of open up the sides of your inner labia and place the hole around your clitoris. The very first vibrating function is extremely light, but it feels amazing. They call it 'whisper mode.' It gets pretty fast and loud the higher up you go. If you require a high level of vibration, you may want to make sure you are home alone before using this. It is silicone, water-proof, and easy to clean. I recommend it. $49.99 on Adam & Eve (currently backordered).




Satisfyer Pro 2--So this one is very similar to the two but it is a little better in some ways. First, this one has a magnetic USB charger with an Li-ion battery, which is great. It doesn't take a very long time to charge up. This one is also silicone, water-proof, and easy to clean with 11 functions, including the 'whisper mode'. Second, the handle is more user-friendly. Thinner in the middle and wider at the bottom, it fits nicely into the palm of your hand. Third, the little hole on top is smaller in circumference, so it fits more snug around you. $99.95 on Adam & Eve.






Satisfyer Pro Penguin--The name of this one is a little silly, but nothing else about this thing is silly. This one is definitely my favorite. It is much tinier, with the same easy-to-hold design as the pro 2, making it the one you'd want to pack away for a vacation. The hole on top is not as small as the Pro 2 but also not as large as the Satisfyer 2. I don't really even know why I like this one the best as they are all fairly similar. But I think this one is just so nice in every way. It is also silicone, water-proof, and easy to clean with 11 functions (including 'whisper mode') and the rechargeable Li-ion battery with USB charger.  $69.95 on Adam & Eve (currently backordered).



Glamour Magazine described the toys as 'the best sex toys released in 2016.' Satisfyer also won two 2017 Design Awards for their toys. Several other magazines have done reviews and advertised the products. A review on Satisfyer's Facebook page rates it five stars, saying, "I named mine Idris Elba. What more do I need to say?" There are also two other models that I haven't tried--the Satisfyer 1 and the Satisfyer Pro Deluxe--both available on Adam & Eve for $39.99 and $79.99, respectively.

Bottom line--these things are awesome. Supposedly some people feel a 'sucking' sensation, but I didn't really get that. I love the idea of an oral sex simulator as opposed to a vibrating bulb. Any not-so-great reviews on Amazon speak of the toys dying after several weeks. So far, I haven't encountered any issues with that, but I will update if I do! If you're looking for something to treat yo'self with, check these out--I HIGHLY recommend them!!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Interviews with Strangers: Charlie Kelly

Forty-six year old Charlie Kelly is a survivor. He didn’t fight cancer or a childhood illness, nor did he fight for his life in a hospital bed after a life-threatening accident. Kelly’s fight started before his life began--he survived an abortion.



Kelly with his mother, Bonnie, on Christmas Day.

Kelly’s mother, Bonnie Kelly, speaks about the one-night stand she had with acquaintance Frank Reynolds.
“When I found out I was pregnant with Charlie, he forced me to get an abortion. But it didn’t take! We went to one of those clinics, one of those underground clinics. Then I had the procedure, and they told me he was dead. But then three months later, he popped out, happy as a clam!! He survived the abortion!”
Reynolds denies that he is the Father of Charlie. When confronted about their possible relation, Reynolds told Kelly, “Your mother is feedin’ you a line of crap! I mean, she probably went right from the clinic and banged some guy and got knocked up... because your mother was a giant whore.”


Pictured: Kelly (right) with probable-father Frank Reynolds in their apartment.

Surviving the abortion at six months didn’t come without problems. For one, Charlie didn’t have a father growing up. Left to be raised by a neurotic woman with extreme OCD, Charlie developed problems of his own. Growing up, he was molested by a close Uncle. Throughout the years, he developed an addiction to huffing glue and despite being in his late forties, still doesn’t know how to read.


Currently, Kelly works as a janitor for local bar Paddy’s Pub, owned by his close friends. He is roommates in a one-room apartment with the man suspected to be his father, Frank Reynolds. He has an overwhelming obsession with a local coffee-shop waitress, who says Kelly has been stalking her for years. He even went so far as to write and perform a musical for the city of Philadelphia, using the stage to propose to her at the end. She said no.
“You stalked me, there is something wrong with you. Your brain is broken! I hate you! I hope you die! I hope you go to hell!” She yelled at Kelly one day at the bar where he works.


It hasn’t been all bad, though. Despite his mostly sociopathic tendencies, Kelly does seem to truly care about his mom and friends. He has gone through extreme situations to help his friends out of trouble. He is very good at writing music and playing the piano, saying, “Oh man, keyboards just make sense to me. I get ‘em, you know?”


Kelly in a performance of his musical, Dayman

Maybe surprisingly, Kelly is pro-choice. When an old friend from high school approached him about possibly being the father of her child, Kelly said that he ‘wished he could go back in time and do the right thing,’ referring to making her get an abortion. To this day, Kelly believes Reynolds is his father, while Reynolds continues to deny it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Sex Kitten presents...Sex-Ed Class!!

I've had my blog for about five years now, and many of you readers know that I am not the most consistent of posters. I can’t lie--I’m not easily motivated and I’m too easily discouraged. The current state of affairs in America definitely leaves something to be desired for nearly every type of person. I’ve always been a very laid-back, non-confrontational person and discovering how many people aren’t like that really hit me hard. It made me want to crawl into bed and never interact with humans again.

My mother got pregnant with me shortly after turning 18--my father was only 16. Despite this, I was not given a clear explanation of what sex was or how I should deal with it. My father was extremely sexist. He would routinely joke with my younger brother about ‘titties’ and sleeping with sexy women while condemning any interest I had in boys. He did not believe that gay people should be allowed to be together and was adamant that they absolutely should not be allowed to adopt children. He also cheated on my mother. Strangely (and thankfully) enough, I grew up with very opposite views from him. Not everyone who is raised in such an environment is as lucky, and we need proper education so that we can base our thoughts off of fact rather than ignorant opinion.

When I was around nine or ten, my mom sat me down and explained what puberty was, but it didn’t stop me from crying in fear in the nurse’s office when I was eleven, trying to keep quiet on the phone to my mom while my 7th grader-crush sat in front of me. I thought something was wrong with me. I felt ashamed to tell friends that I had gotten my period--I was only eleven, and I felt I was too young. Despite hitting puberty much earlier than my other friends, I didn’t fully develop until well after high school. I didn’t understand why my friends could wear tampons and essentially ignore their periods while I couldn’t get a tampon in, and spent days staying home from school, crying in nausea and pain with the worst cramps imaginable. In high school, I was the ‘prude’ of my friend group. The idea of sex scared me, and if I’m being honest, I really didn’t know what ‘sex’ entailed until I was 17 and a friend of mine explained it in detail. I was the last of nearly all of my friends to have sex, as I was sure that any type of activity would leave me immediately and regretfully pregnant.

Recently, a friend of mine was telling me about an encounter with her boyfriend, in which she made sure they used protection, since it was ‘that time of the month.’ I asked her what she meant by that and she said, “well, you’re most likely to get pregnant while on your period, right?” Keep in mind that this is a young woman in college who grew up in a middle-class suburban neighborhood. How does a person like that grow up so misinformed? Why are schools not leaving us with valuable information about our own bodies? (For those unsure--periods are a cycle. You are most likely to get pregnant during ovulation--which occurs about halfway through your cycle--when you release eggs to be fertilized. If an egg is not fertilized in this time, you eventually shed your uterine lining, which is what we know as our periods. The possibility of getting pregnant while on your period is very, very low, but it is still technically possible.)

To this day, I have friends and family that question my desire to pursue a career that has anything to do with sex. To clear up any misconceptions--sex education does not mean you get to sit around and talk about sexy things all day. It doesn’t mean I want to hear intimate details about the sex you had recently. I’m not having crazy frequent sex with multiple partners. It 100% absolutely doesn’t mean I’m interested in seeing pictures of your penis. It means I’m available when a 17-year-old girl has sex for the first time and doesn’t know how she feels about it. It means I’m here for support and advice when a married couple is having issues keeping the spark alive. It means I’m here to listen and give resources when someone is questioning the gender of the body they are in. I’m mostly straight and in a monogamous relationship. I support the rights of anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA. I believe that our society places a strange emphasis on shaming and outlawing the rights of those who identify as anything other than monogamous/heterosexual while at the same time stigmatizing sex in any form. We want to have the power to deny people marriage and sexual interests, but we don’t want to teach comprehensive sexual education. People want to defund helpful non-profit organizations such as Planned Parenthood while also asking for abortions to be outlawed and health insurance to be taken away. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t shield children from sexuality in all forms and then be surprised and angry when they grow up confused and uneducated. We can’t teach abstinence and take away health insurance, birth control and clinics and then be mad at teenagers who get pregnant.

David J. Ley’s article, Repairing the Damage of Abstinence-Based Sex Education, talks about how detrimental it is that we leave teenagers to discover sex by watching pornography rather than providing them with the necessary education.
“But when kids have no pragmatic, real-world understanding of what sex is, because sex education provided today has no connection to the modern world of sex, these young people can’t understand that sex involves integrity, communication, personal awareness, and respect, as much or more than it requires genitalia.” --Dr. David J. Ley
With porn comes tons of misconceptions on the who, what, when, why and how. Like Dr. Ley says, we are allowing teens to try to distinguish reality from the fantasy of porn. And that’s what most porn is--a fantasy. Sex is not easy and quiet and perfect. There are noises and smells and secretions. There are different sizes of genitalia, different shapes of bodies. Sometimes it is quick and sometimes it takes a long time. Porn doesn’t show the issues that arise in the bedroom--it only shows how we imagine or fantasize it happening.

And without proper education, kids grow up expecting their fantasies to become their realities. We make jokes about men not being able to find the clit, but we also aren’t even taught where our own clit is located. I’d love to quiz a random group of adults on the names of their own reproductive parts, because I don’t think we were ever taught it again outside of an awkward lesson in my 10th grade health class. I actually asked about birth control in said class and was told they couldn’t tell me anything more than the fact that birth control was an option, but that if I wanted to know more, I needed to ask my parents.

Sex is not a ‘dirty’ thing. If it was as wrong as some people make it out to seem, then why is it necessary for the continuation of the human race? It is a necessary function of our humanity and we need to start accepting that. If we remove the stigma now, we can raise children to be more educated, confident and accepting of themselves and others. That is what I aim to do. And sometimes I will post about things other than straight education--things like sexual toys or products. I do it because it is nothing to be ashamed of. We all have bodies and we all enjoy pleasure in our own ways and there is nothing wrong with that. We need to stop having classes that are abstinence-based because teens ARE having sex. They know that not having sex is an option, but they are choosing to do it. They need to know the right, healthy way to do it.

Starting soon, I will be posting some videos based around sexual education topics. I will be covering the basics as well as any other topics that it seems worthy to discuss. I’ll be talking about anatomy, puberty, sex, pregnancy, etc. I’ve got this great white board and I’m compiling information and working on some diagrams, so hopefully I can hit the ground running with it soon! If you have anything you’d like to hear me talk about, please comment or email me.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Interviews with Strangers: Marty and Sara

Have you ever met a couple that exuded chemistry? Like, you're not sure if soulmates are a thing, but if they are, this couple would be the poster-couple for them? That couple would be 24-year-old Sara and 27-year-old Marty. There are couples that are super loving in private, but closed-off in public. There are people who are super outwardly affectionate, but maybe not the closest in private. There are also mixtures of both. These two seems to strike a perfect balance of both. They are obviously madly in love with each other, but they won't throw it in your face. Yet ask them about each other and it is like two passionate teenagers who can't get enough of each other. Needless to say, they are adorable and I loved talking to them. It's great to see two people who love each other so much. Even greater is that they are extremely communicative and open with each other! I heard from them shortly after the newest 50 Shades movie, 50 Shades Darker, came out. They wanted me to do an interview with them--a couple who practices Dominant/Submissive roles inside (and outside!) of the bedroom, as well as incorporates other BDSM-type actions into their love lives. Sara, Marty and I would love for you to take a few minutes to read this interview and see how they think about their own relationship. It was super fun to do an interview with a couple, and I'd love to do more! If you and your partner are interested, please contact me through email at thesexkittenk@gmail or on my Facebook page at The Sex Kitten.


How would you describe your relationship??

Marty: I can describe our relationship easily: We're dope as fuck.
I just got out of a bad relationship, hooked up with some people. Got the message from Marty, and my sister said, "what do you have to lose.. just message him back." Our very first Skype date was all it took for me. I laughed more than I did with anyone else in those 15 minutes.
Aw, that's great! I always feel weird telling people that my boyfriend and I met on OKC and I don't know why. So many people meet online these days!!
Sara: I HATE saying that. So then I just dive into our first date and distract from that, hahah. But that's how EVERYBODY meets nowadays. I swear. Marty actually lied to his family about it too, for like a month.
Marty: It felt weird to admit at first. But the bottom line is that app helped me find my soulmate, so as far as I'm concerned, it works!
So, how long have you been together?
Marty: Our first date was August 21st, 2015.
And you said you're engaged? Congrats! When did you know you wanted to pop the question?
Marty: Yessss we are. And as cheesy as it sounds, I knew I wanted to make her my wife by the end of our first date. It's like she said earlier, the most cliche sayings become true when you meet your soulmate--"when you know, you know." Well...I definitely knew. It was out of my hands. During our first date, I felt more like myself than I have ever felt in my life. It felt like meeting a part of myself that I never knew existed.
So, Sara, you are into BDSM? When did you start exploring those kinds of activities?
Sara: Yesss. Around sophomore year of high school I started exploring bondage. 
Do you have a very active sex life?
Marty: Definitely. We have some form of sex almost every day, and because of the Dom/sub relationship, we also have some things carry over to outside of the bedroom (that aren't necessarily sexual but definitely add to the dynamic).
And how does it carry over into your everyday lives?
Sara: He has a list of set rules that I have to follow--if I don't, then he will give a punishment. 
Marty: Well, I think the number one way it impacts our life outside of the bedroom is that it just makes us feel closer in general. Knowing that she trusts me enough to completely forego all control is an indescribable feeling that doesn't just stay in the bedroom. It makes me want to take such good care of her in every way imaginable, especially in every day life. Outside of the bedroom, we don't play too much with the whole, "I'm her Dom, she's my sub" aspect, and if we do, it's very subtle. I for one don't want her to be completely submissive to me outside of the bedroom. I enjoy her just the way she is. As for ways we use the dynamic outside of the bedroom though, I have a list of rules for her to follow. Most of them are for use during a session, but a few of them are for outside the bedroom, too. For example, she isn't allowed to talk negatively of herself unless it's constructive. Another kind of silly one is she isn't allowed to open beverages by herself if I'm around. I have to do it for her. So, little things like that are nice because I think even something like the beverage rule can really add to the dynamic and makes both of us feel closer together and it's a way of subtly bringing that Dom/sub relationship out of the bedroom without either of us having to act any differently. Although I know that 24/7 Dom/sub relationships are really great for a lot of people, it's just not for me.

What kinds of punishments do you receive? Do you sometimes break the rules to purposely receive a punishment??

Sara: Punishments usually consist of laying/standing/kneeling in different positions for long periods of time. More humiliation play: face fucking, collar and leash, getting teased anywhere from hours to nights in a row without being allowed to cum. Some rules, like going to the gym twice a week, can be hard. So I will accept the punishment. It's sort of a gamble, though. Sometimes he will go easy on me and it will be more playful, like spanking and light breath play, which I certainly enjoy. But then again it could be a lot of face fucking and long periods of teasing, which gets really tough.

And Marty, you were fairly new to the whole idea before you two met, right? What did you think about it all when she brought it up?

Marty: My sex life was fairly vanilla. I honestly only knew of BDSM on a surface level. I knew almost nothing about it prior to meeting the love of my life. Soon after we met, she told me that she enjoyed being gagged and tied up. At that point, I started doing research into BDSM relationships and realized that I'd always identified as a Dom without realizing it. It's kind of strange how it all worked out, though. See, Sara was always interested in the bondage aspect of BDSM, which I didn't have much experience with. I was always interested in the Dom/sub relationship, I just didn't realize that at the time because I never looked into it. Sara also had almost no experience being in a Dom/sub relationship. So once I realized we were both previously only familiar with one of the two main pillars of a BDSM relationship, I thought it would make sense to combine the two. So, I approached Sara about us taking on a real D/s dynamic in the bedroom and she loved the idea. That's when I started making rules and at that point she fully fell into the role as my submissive and honestly, it keeps getting better and better.

Is this dynamic something you see yourselves continuing for a long time?

Marty: 4 lyfe.

Do you want to have kids someday??

Marty: Absolutely.
Sara: YES.
Marty: We're going to invest in some heavy-duty door locks...hahah.

Good idea!! So, Since you're in a BDSM relationship, what do you think about the 50 Shades movies??
Sara: Personally, I think the movies are bullshit. Although it is one relationship you follow, they advertise it as a BDSM relationship and it gives the whole community a horrible representation. When you watch the movie, you see a man who was abused and neglected as a child. He then grows up and gets pleasure out giving pain to many different submissive women who remind him of his crackhead mom. Then one woman comes along and "fixes" him, basically turning a Dom/sub relationship into "let's have kinky sex once in a while."
Just to be clear, neither of us were abused or damaged children. I believe I enjoy being a sub because naturally in my everyday life, I am a very controlling person towards myself. Certain anxieties make me naturally controlling over different situations. I don't do spontaneous adventures; I'm more of a detail oriented, follow-things-by-the-agenda type of person. So when it comes to pleasure for me, I enjoy being submissive and surrendering all of my control. Doing exactly as I'm told helps eliminate the anxiety.

You know, I've always been a fan of such relationships without really knowing why, but the anxiety thing makes a lot of sense!! I agree about the movies. On one hand, I was super happy when they came out because it kind of brought awareness to the idea of BDSM relationships and almost helped normalize it, but at the same time, it doesn't exactly show it in a bad light. It almost makes people think there is something wrong with them to cause them to be interested in such things.

Marty: You both completely nailed exactly how I feel about the 50 shades movies. I like the fact that it introduces people to a BDSM lifestyle, but it's extremely unfortunate that the introduction is a story about an incredibly dysfunctional relationship. It's a disservice to the lifestyle and it's honestly terrible that it normalizes that type of "toeing the line between consent and non-consent" bullshit. If there isn't full consent between everyone involved and hard limits aren't discussed, then it's an unsafe BDSM relationship as far as I'm concerned. I just wish there was an actual good movie that could inform people about how amazing that type of relationship can be when it's actually done correctly (and safely).

I'm sure there are plenty of others that display healthier forms of the relationships, but I personally found the movie Secretary (starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader) to be a fairly decent representation of it all.

To close, what advice would you offer to other couples who are considering this type of dynamic for their relationships??

Sara: Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Be open minded to anything and everything. Don't be afraid to try everything once (excluding hard limits). You could surprise yourself with things you may actually enjoy, just never thought of before! Also, don't be shy about your fetishes. If you want to make it work, your partner needs to know everything from fetishes to limits. Take it seriously, love each other, and surrender yourself completely into the role you desire to be.

Marty: I think having respect for one another is crucial in any relationship, but in a BDSM relationship it is extremely important. A lot of people could look at Dom/sub relationships and think it's unhealthy and degrading. However, if it's a healthy relationship with communication as a top priority, then that couldn't be farther from the truth. Sara is my entire world, and I worship her. I have the utmost respect for her as a strong incredible woman...but that doesn't stop me from treating her like a "dirty slut." I respect, adore, and worship my fiancé...we both just happen to enjoy this type of dynamic and as a result we've never been happier and more fulfilled sexually AND emotionally. Don't be quick to judge, and if something interests you and you have a consenting partner, give it a try. However, no matter what type of relationship you have: respect each other and communicate about EVERYTHING.
Chat Conversation End

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Black History Month--Women's Edition

On December 6th, 1865, slavery in the United States was abolished. It is hard to think that just 152 years ago, humans were using other humans as their slaves. Shortly after the Thirteenth Amendment was passed, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland had founded what is known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Celebrated during the second week of February, it focused on researching and promoting achievements by black Americans. In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized the whole month of February as Black History Month, stating that our country should, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Race is a hot issue in our world right now. We've come a long way in the past hundred or so years, but we still have a ways to go. It is all a work in progress. I can't speak for the rest of the world, but the United States is a patriarchal society. The works of men have always been highly regarded and appreciated, and women have fought to be recognized and appreciated. Today, in 2017, women are still fighting for rights and equality. If women are already cast to the side, black women tend to be put even further back on the back burner. Stereotypes of black women are rampant in the media, and many are judged based off of these over-exaggerated tropes. Many black women can attest to having heard 'you speak white' or 'your hair isn't like most black hair' in their lives. Ernestine Johnson, actress and performance poet, does an excellent spoken piece about this called, 'The Average Black Girl' on an episode of The Arsenio Hall Show. I highly recommend taking a few minutes out of your day to watch this moving piece. It will give you chills, and hopefully make you think about the way people speak to each other.

Everyone knows a stereotype about their own race or gender. The problem with stereotypes comes when people get defined and therefore, confined by them. This video on YouTube--Three Black Female Stereotypes that Need to Die--explains it all perfectly. It talks about how--generally--there are three characters that black women portray--the Jezebel (young, aggressive, overtly sexual),  the Mammy (older, chubby, loving motherly-type, complete opposite of the Jezebel), and the headstrong black woman (the sassy, loud girl). Come on, most of us can think of a tv show with a black female character who is loud and sassy. Thankfully, many television shows and movies are starting to give better roles to black women, roles that show their acting strengths, range, and emotional depth, rather than a superficial surface act.

All that being said, there are tons of black women who do not get the recognition they deserve! Of course, there are names we all know off the tops of our heads--Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, Maya Angelou, etc. But there are many names that are not as well known or recognized. I'd like to take some time here to list just a few, past and present, that I think are deserving of being spoken about--not only this month, but always.

In History

Madam CJ Walker



Walker was actually born Sarah Breedlove on December 23rd, 1867 in Louisiana. By the age of 20, she was a widow and single mother of a two-year-old girl. In 1905, she began to lose her hair. She developed a system called "the Walker System" that combined scalp preperation and the use of lotions and iron combs. Her products were specifically geared towards blacks. She went door to door advertising her products before becoming a successful businesswoman. She eventually married again, a journalist named Charles J. Walker. Walker became known as the first female African-American millionaire in the United States. She was extremely charitable, even to her own employees. She donated money to the NAACP and the black YMCA and many other black charities. She also lived lavishly, building up her Manhattan townhouse. Unfortunately, she passed away at the young age of 51.



Florence Griffith Joyner



Better known as Flo-Jo, Joyner was born on December 21st, 1959 in California. She was a track and field athlete. She set world records in both the 100m and 200m, both of which are still unbroken. She is considered the fastest woman of all time. During her freshman year at California State University at Northridge, her track team won the National Championship. She eventually graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. In the 1988 Olympics, she won four medals--three gold and one silver. Besides her speed, Flo-Jo was known for her style. She competed with long hair, jewelry, and long, painted fingernails. Toy maker LJN Toys made a Barbie Doll of her. She painted in her spare time. She designed lots of her outfits, and even designed the uniforms for the Indiana Pacers basketball team. Sadly, she passed away very young, at the age of 38. The cause of her death is thought to be complications from a severe epileptic seizure.






Dr. Mae Jemison



Jemison was born on October 17th, 1956 in Alabama. Though she is still alive, I feel that she is a big part of American history as well as our future.
As a child, she was always interested in space. She attended Stanford University at the age of 16, eventually graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. While there, she was also the head of the Black Students Union. She then went on to get a Doctor of Medicine degree at Cornell Medical College. She worked as a doctor for awhile, traveling to other countries and providing medical care. She then moved to work in the Peace Corps as a Peace Corps Medical Officer, even saving the life of a volunteer by realizing that a different doctor misdiagnosed them.
In 1987, Jemison applied to NASA. In 1992, she became the first African-American woman in space aboard the Endeavour, Mission STS-47, a co-op mission between the U.S. and Japan. She was in space for eight days. She left NASA in 1993. Afterwards, she worked as a Professor at both Dartmouth College and Cornell University. Also in 1993, she became the first real astronaut to appear on an episode of Star Trek: Next Generation. All together, she holds nine honorary doctorates.
Currently, she leads the 100 Year Starship--a mission to make human interstellar travel possible within 100 years. Also, from her website--"She founded two technology companies and the non-profit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence which designs and implements STEM education experiences. A member of Fortune 500 companies’ boards, the National Academy of Medicine and the National Women’s Hall of Fame, Jemison was voted as one of the top seven women leaders in a presidential ballot national straw poll." She is also fairly active on Twitter.


These are just a few amazing women that helped set the groundwork for our country. There are many, many others--for example, Claudette Colvin, who predated Rosa Parks by nine months by refusing to move to the back of the bus. She was arrested and fought the segregation law in court. There was Coretta Scott King, wife of the late Martin Luther King Jr., who was ahead of the game as far as LGBT rights go, and advocated for equality in the early 1980's. She won a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she met MLK Jr. Later in life, she was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize. There was Dorothy Dandridge, who was the first black woman to be nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film Carmen Jones; And then there was Hattie McDaniel, who became the first black woman to win an Oscar for her supporting actress role in the film Gone With the Wind.


Today

Laverne Cox



Cox was born on May 29th, 1984 and raised as a male, alongside her identical twin brother, M Lamar. As a child, Cox knew she was different. She was bullied in school and had feelings of intimacy towards boys. These issues led to her attempt at suicide in the sixth grade. Thankfully, she was not successful, and went on to transition into the beautiful actress we see today. Her breakout role as Sophia Bursett in Orange is the New Black led to many other roles, such as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the Fox remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show, and a new role as a trans lawyer on the CBS show 'Doubt.' According to her website, Cox was the first trans woman of color to produce and star in her own television show--TRANSform Me--about a group of trans women who travel the country giving makeovers to women. Cox is an advocate for LGBT rights and speaks frequently about gender expectations in our society. She was listed as a Woman of the Year in 2014 by Glamour Magazine. She has also won many awards as a result of her advocacy work. Currently, she is producing a documentary called Free CeCe about a black bi-trans woman named CeCe McDonald. McDonald was sentenced to 41 months in prison for second degree manslaughter after allegedly engaging in self defense while being attacked for being black and trans. The film has several screenings at film festivals this year.


Ericka Hart



According to her website, Hart refers to herself as "A kinky, poly, cancer-warrior, activist, sexuality educator and performer with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality." She has taught sexual education to people of all ages in NYC for the last six years, and was briefly an HIV/AIDS volunteer for the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. In May 2014, four months before her wedding, Hart was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy. About a year after the mastectomy, she underwent reconstructive surgery on her breasts. Both her and her surgeon had trouble finding pictures of black women who had gone through a similar surgery, despite the fact that the rate of breast cancer in black women has increased in previous years. Now, healed from her second surgery, Hart does speaking engagements topless. She attended the music festival AfroPunk in Brooklyn topless because "I wanted people to see me such that they saw themselves, their mothers, lovers and friends. I wanted people to see me and remember that they need to check their breasts regardless of their age." She wanted to show that breast cancer isn't just something that hits old white women--young black girls are affected, too. Despite her illness, she is still the same person--an intelligent, beautiful, sexual being.
 In January of 2017, she spoke at the Women's March in Philadelphia--topless. Her Instagram is filled with beautiful inspirational photos, and her account has gained lots of popularity in the past couple of years. Currently, she works as a lecturer in the School of Social Work at Columbia University in New York.


Tamika Mallory



Mallory, now 35 years old, was working as a staff member for the National Action Network (Reverend Al Sharpton's civil rights organization) at age 15, before becoming their youngest ever Executive Director. She worked with the Obama Administration and Former VP Joe Biden to help strengthen gun control legislation. It is something she cares a lot about--about 15 years ago, her son's father, Jason Ryans, was shot and killed. She played a big role in creating the NYC Crisis Management System, a city-wide initiative to reduce gun violence in New York City. Most recently, she was one of the National Co-Chairs for the 2017 Women's March. She also founded Mallory Consulting, a strategic planning firm in NYC. She also regularly contributes to online magazines and occasionally appears on national television networks. She is also fairly active on Twitter.


Again, these are just a few women you should know about. There are tons of black women out there, working hard everyday to change our world for the better and to advance the recognition of works by women of color. For example, there is Ava DuVernay, the first black female to win the Best Director Prize at the Sundance Film Festival; Beverly Johnson, the first African-American model to appear on the cover of Vogue in 1974; Michelle Obama, the first African-American First Lady in the White House, who previously worked as a lawyer and in government, and holds degrees from both Princeton and Harvard Universities; Wanda Sykes, a writer, actress and comedian who was the first African-American LGBT woman to be the featured entertainer at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.  She also briefly hosted her own tv show--The Wanda Sykes Show--and was nominated for seven Primetime Emmys, winning one; Oprah Winfrey, author and actress who hosted her own show for many years before becoming a big philanthropist and CEO of two networks. She has donated millions to charity and began Oprah's Angel Network, a charity that helped support charitable projects and provided grants to nonprofit organizations around the world. She even founded a boarding school for girls in South Africa--the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (which has been open for 10 years now); and etc., etc. I could go on all day.


One more thing I'd like to mention is a website I just recently discovered--Afrosexology. It was created by two women--Dalychia and Rafaella--who both hold degrees in Social Work and had a mutual desire to create a more sex-positive black community. The two offer workshops based around sexual education, as well as speaking engagements, curriculum development, and consultations. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


"Our mission is to educate, explore, and reclaim Black sexuality.
Our vision is to promote Black self empowerment through sexual liberation."


I wrote this post with the utmost respect for all the women you see here. As a woman, I have struggled in many ways, but I am privileged in the sense that I have never been excluded or ridiculed for my skin color. A lot of white people like to say, 'I don't see color.' But you should, because it exists. It can't just be coincidence that our country was built on slavery and became predominantly powered by whites. The reality is that race DOES matter. Black women are twice as likely to become pregnant as teens (three times more likely in some states), three times more likely to die during childbirth, and while women in general are more likely to suffer from depression than men, black women are less likely to receive treatment. We should all be conscious of this separation and work together to bridge the gap between race and gender, as well as celebrate the accomplishments of those that put in the hard work.

Filmmaker Ava Duvernay said, "Some black filmmakers will say, "I don't want to be considered a black filmmaker, I'm a filmmaker." I don't think that. I'm a black woman filmmaker. Just like A Separation is [by] an Iranian, male filmmaker and his film is through that lens, my films are through my lens, and I think it's valuable and fine and worthy to be seen by everyone."

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's March 2017

Guys, I've really dropped the ball.

There have been so many things going on that make me think, "Wow! I should write a post about that!" And then I look into the topic more, and it upsets me and then I read reactions/comments from people and they make me angry, and then I get hopeless and I close my computer and snuggle my cats and complain about how I hate everyone.

Someone doesn't need to be a politically minded person to realize there is a HUGE divide in the United States right now. I never expected to live in a society with so much hostility and hate. It truly makes me sad. I know internet posts definitely exacerbate my anxieties, and that people allow their worst sides to come out while they are typing away in the safety of their own home, but it still sucks to see. No matter the subject, there are people out there who can find some way to argue about it.

Because of this hostility, I try to keep my blog as neutral as possible. This is hard, because there are things that come up that I feel the need to talk about that are tied to politics. I really want to stress going forward that I am not here to push a political agenda, nor do I have the patience to argue with anyone about their political agenda. If you feel the need to comment something regarding something you don't like, please go elsewhere.

That being said, the recent Women's March gave me hope. All day on January 21st, I got to see inspiring pictures of beautiful, strong women, holding up signs that expressed how they felt about the current situation in our country. It was also amazing to see tons of men attend the event as well. Feminism has gotten a strangely bad rap the last several years. Like any movement, there are extremists who make the rest of us look bad and give the whole thing a bad name.

The definition of feminism is this:

fem·i·nism
ˈfeməˌnizəm/

 noun
  1. the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.


It is not the thought that women are better than men or that women deserve special treatment. Men are not evil and they are not the cause of all the problems in our world. Sometimes people generalize broadly and sometimes people take personal offense. The point of the March was to stand up for women's rights and therefore anyone was welcome to attend.

The main event--Women's March on Washington--took place on Saturday, January 21st at 10am, right by the US Capitol. There were tons of 'sister marches' outside of Washington--even in other countries. Individual cities held their own marches in solidarity with the March on Washington. All together, over one million people attended these marches across the country. Some news sites are even saying it is the largest demonstration in US history (though, I haven't been able to confirm this fact, so if anyone has information one way or the other, please let me know :) )

Of course, there are people who do not see the point of such a demonstration. Why do women (and men!) feel the need to advocate for women's rights in 2017??  Just think about how women are represented. We are still over-sexualized, starting from childhood. Women are still being attacked for breastfeeding in public (which is actually what breasts are for). Rape victims are still not taken seriously and rapists get very reduced sentences or escape jail time all together. For example--look up Brock Turner. And before anyone tries to argue, yes, men can be rape victims as well. Fighting for tighter laws as far as rape goes will benefit victims of all genders. Promiscuity still leads to women being called sluts, but men being celebrated. People still believe that a woman's vagina will become 'loose' from 'too much sex.' Women are questioned and harassed for being gamers or sports fans. People questioned whether or not Hillary Clinton would be a good fit for President because--what if she got her period while in office? (I'm not going to get into how nearly impossible it would be for a 69-year-old woman to still have her period.) Planned Parenthood has been under attack constantly lately, and politicians all over the country are trying too hard to get them defunded. Many politicians don't want women to have access to affordable family planning/insurance. Abortions are always a hot topic, and current President Trump and VP Mike Pence have been very outspoken about their opinions on it. President Trump has even made very sexist remarks during his campaign. Even my blog is targeted!! People seem to not like that I want to educate people on current topics or offer advice for their personal lives. I get tons of dick pics and messages requesting sex. The rights of the LGBT community are being threatened. 



















These are just some of the many reasons we as women need to stand up and support each other. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend a march due to work. But I knew many amazingly strong people who went out and stood up for what they believed in. Here are some of my favorite signs from marches around the country. Also, I apologize for what is likely a crazy jumble of thought here. I'm sure many of you could put this all into much more graceful terms.


I love this so much. I'm a huge fan of all four of these guys (Jake Hurwitz, Ben Schwartz, Amir Blumenfeld, Thomas Middleditch) and I appreciate their support so much. (via @rejectedjokes on Twitter)