11.28.2011

white people & the "N" word.

Tim Wise spoke at Spelman a few weeks ago and one of my bestfriend's attended. She told me that this white guy was really thought-provoking and approached race in an entirely new way. I thought that was cool but didn't give him a real chance until his name was brought up again in another class. I checked him out. You should too. Tim Wise:


whoa.

"I think life is difficult and that's that. I am not at all-- absolutely not at all-- interested in the pursuit of happiness. I am not interested in the pursuit of positivity. I am interested in pursuing a truth, and the truth often seems to be not happiness but its opposite."

when speaking about her brother:

"His life was a passive event. It had no shape. His life was sort of waiting to happen. As he died, that seemed to be what was going to happen -- so one could only say that he never lived. He sort of died all the time. It was one of the frustrating things in taking care of him that I sometimes seemed to care more whether he lived. I didn't like that."

- excerpts from an interview with Jamaica Kincaid, an outstanding author from the West Indies .


11.25.2011

words with strangers.


He noticed her for months. Living. Breathing. She was always smiling, but he suspected that there was something he couldn't see. Finally, he approached her and asked the first thing to come to mind. “Where's your boyfriend?" he asked. She looked at him, intrigued, and said,

“Dating is a smoke and mirrors game. We’re blindfolded, spun around in circles and expected to strike gold. No direction. No insight. We’re just adults, stuck in kiddy mindsets- swinging randomly until we reach contact. We don't even know we’re breaking each other.

This is a generation that romanticizes pain. Some of us have legitimate, heavy baggage and heartbreak stories that blister hands, making it to excruciating to hold another’s. Meanwhile, the others in our generation are pretending to be scarred because they’re scared of being "bland". They like to claim “trust issues” because they think it makes them real. I wish I could tell them that it’s okay not to lose a father, a mother, a lover, a brother, a sister. It’s okay to have a healthy ability to trust. It’s okay for your world not to crumble. Nothing’s cute about being cold. I'd tell them to give life some time. Yes, with time ... life will shake them beyond belief but until then ... trust with open hearts & soul."

He was taken aback. She blinked and took even breaths as if she merely told him the time was 2 o' clock. He spoke carefully, "So, you don't look for something ...more?"

She smiled, "I’ll never pretend to be what I’m not. I’ve seen too many real things to entertain a false projection of reality. And sometimes fraudulence isn’t intentional- just a lost boy taking his time to become a man. Dating, at times, can be an inadvertent sham. [One person telling another person what they think should be said.  The other person trying to overemphasize their life] … attempting to put make up and hair ties on a hog.

I’ll settle for nothing less than organic. I'm not "looking for something" because the something you speak of is too complex. I need pride put on shelves. I need facades roasted away in cabin fires. I live in a world that is drenched in fear and insecurity. Until I have something natural, stripped and raw, I will spread single across my lips and pucker up to life.”

11.19.2011

my final words.


I took some time to sit back and think about my blog series.  I decided that I wanted to end with these last points: to fellow young women,

Women are often times so concerned with the term “sexual liberation” while they’re in college. Time and time again, I try to keep a straight face when women say, “I think having sex with no strings attached is sexual liberation.” It doesn’t bother me as much that women say they want to have sex lives; it bothers me that they equate casual sex with liberation. What do they think they’re being liberated from? What societal constructions are supposedly holding them captive?

Many women argue that society turns their noses up at the “promiscuous girls”. They go on to explain how white society wants them to date. get married. have kids and follow the 'normal pattern' (as if such a life sucks). Casual sex and promiscuity are practices seen on television, in movies, and social media sites. It’s more accepted and normalized to have kids out of wedlock than within the union of marriage. In fact, present day society marginalizes the abstinent girl more than the girls who participate in sex.

I say all of this to remind you that views on sex will ALWAYS change. Trying to keep up will only leave you feeling used, abused, and confused. Even more problematic is the fact that men are usually the trendsetters for the patterns found in women’s sexual behavior (look up marketing gender statistics). Isn’t that ironic? Instead of looking to pop culture for a tutorial on your body and sex life, take control for yourself. Sexuality is a huge part of a woman’s life (whether or not she is sexually active). It’s important to have autonomy over your body and the things you do. NEVER let a man decide what you are comfortable doing. Love yourself first. Things are clearer that way. Thanks so much for engaging in this series :)

All of my love,
Stevi Renee

11.14.2011

to whom it may concern:


you. yes, you with the penis,
Over the years I have acquired a special discernment for recognizing manhood. I think the most essential sign of a boy becoming a man is his sense of accountability, responsibility, and his courage. It takes a big man to step outside of his comfort zone and acknowledge something like rape. Even more so, a real man does not walk around beating his chest.. he appreciates a woman's femininity and virtue. When you, as a "man", try to coerse a young lady into the bedroom, you should consider some things. You may think it's a completely normal, consensual action. Nevertheless, when you try to manipulate a girl, you should consider the idea that she may be emotionally, psychologically, or physically scarred by the effects of rape. 
But oh, the inconvenience of rape. How annoying it must be to have to consider the women you're boning. It's less tedious to brainwash yourself and think that a girl who has been raped puts it all behind her. Sometimes, that is the case. But numbers are showing that ...sexual assault victims are:
3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
and then i bet you're thinking, "damn. that's unfortunate for them. but i don't f*ck with girls  who were rape victims." oh pumpkin, you are sadly mistaken. Consider for a moment how many sexual partners you have had. Or, consider for a moment how many girls you played to the left, cheated on, left heartbroken. Got the number? cool. Well, 1 in every 6 American women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Does that change things? Baby, your humanity depends on your sense of compassion... i personally know that men can smell insecurity from a mile away. Next time, however, while you're sniffing through the club and library... consider what i said and ... be a man about it.

11.12.2011

Leda and the Swan by William Yeats (google it)




    A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
    Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
    By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
    He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

    How can those terrified vague fingers push
    The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
    And how can body, laid in that white rush,
    But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

    A shudder in the loins engenders there
    The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
    And Agamemnon dead.

                        Being so caught up,

    So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
    Did she put on his knowledge with his power
  Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

11.11.2011

watered-down rape.


RAPE (n.)
1. the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
2. any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

I find it so interesting that dictionary.com uses the word, “duress” which means: compulsion by threat or force; coercion; constraint.

Convenience is the direct antithesis of sexual safety and responsibility. You see, men and women like to conveniently picture rape as a concrete scenario: a lost and bewildered woman wanders down a dark alley and a man in tattered clothes creeps out of the shadows and has his way with her. How closed minded is that? We have to stop “watering-down” such complex and saturated concepts such as sexual assault. Instead, we need to break down the common misconceptions: 


Rape is bad. I hate to talk down to people, but unfortunately, we live in a society that is so obsessed with alternative lifestyles that is does not acknowledge simple ethics. People do not want to face the fact that some things are blatantly wrong. RAPE IS WRONG. There is no way to justify making a person bend and/or shatter their sexual boundaries. The physical, emotional and psychological trauma is … life changing. The act of rape is disgusting, sick, and twisted. Plain and simple. Do not let someone justify raping or forcing someone to have sex.


YES. Rape can happen within a union. It’s interesting to me how couple’s are willing to surrender complete control over their bodies when they change their Facebook relationship status. That is problematic. Saying “no” should always be recognized, regardless of a committed relationship. Also, a person who loves you should respect your right to say no. There are plenty of women in Ghana whose husbands are raping them in order to make them bear children …children that they do not want to carry and/or cannot provide for. See, if you are a person who envisions women as merely vessels for penises and fetuses, then you should revisit your therapist and address your f*cking mommy issues.  That's sick.


Rape is unique, every time. Contrary to popular belief, there is no “one size fits all” reaction or scenario to rape. I have heard numerous stories about girls who have frozen up in those moments out of trauma, confusion, or shock. Just because she did not scream, kick, and punch a man in the face does not mean the sex was consensual or that the other person wanted sex. “She said we shouldn’t, but her eyes said she wanted it”, “I know when a girl is bluffing’” and other pathetic excuses have a severe stench of arrogance and inhumanity.  




11.08.2011

...because i am above being raped.

This series started because I sat in a well-lit classroom of twenty ladies and participated in a discussion about rape. While the idea of sexual assault, molestation, and rape may seem far-removed to you, believe me it is not.  It's living and breathing next to you in line at the grocery store. It is teaching your classroom. It is your hairdresser. It is the captain of your high school football team. It is in the third row of the pulpit.  In that classroom, I cringed as i listened to account after account of horrific stories. Not to mention, i replayed some of the same type of stories that i heard from my own friends and family about sexual assault. Immediately, my disgust about rape transformed into a blazing anger.

For those who do not know, I attend a Historically Black College that is 100% women. Freshman year, my Student Orientation Leaders (or SOL) told us to "watch our purses" in the west end. They told us to hide our gadgets and gismos at the risk of being assaulted. However, no one told me that those same "gadgets and gismos" could be my hips, breasts, or thighs. No one EVER told us about the dangers of rape and sexual assault. They never told us that An American woman is 10 times more likely to be raped than to die in a car crash. 


My classes freshman year raised issues about my potential economic and social struggles that i would face as a black women in America. Spelman never told me that Black women’s sexual violence rate is estimated to be around forty percent by the time they reach age 18. I was 18 when i got to Spelman. So were my classmates. I am 21 now and can't help but imagine how high that percentage has risen. Afterall, there is an all-male institution next door to Spelman...


The upperclassmen told us to "watch our reputations" on campus and gossiped about the infamous Black List (a list of rumored "promiscuous girls" on campus). Simply put, they warned US not to be "fast" - as if every sexual encounter on the prestigious Spelhouse campuses would be consensual. They never told us that 74% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by assailants that are well known to the victim. 


Yes. As i sat in a room full of girls recounting these stories, i wanted to give my Spelman card back for the day. Rape is such a taboo topic, full of stigma and misconceptions. Men don't want to talk about it and women don't want to report it. Consequently, we have a generational cycle of psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual chaos. Whether you work, attend school, or chill on your grandmama's porch, your livelihood is affected more than you think. Plain and simple, no one told us. So i am taking the time to break down what's happening under our very noses ...


what's to come: "WATERED-DOWN RAPE"


statistics citation:
http://www.crisisconnectioninc.org/sexualassault/rapestatistics.htm 
http://thehathorlegacy.com/rape-statistics/
http://www.rainn.org/statistics

11.07.2011

let's talk about rape, bay-bee.

Dear Reader,

I want to first and foremost thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read my blog. I understand that you are busy being workers, students, friends, mothers, lovers, wives, husbands, and ultimately theorists. It is not going unnoticed and i appreciate you.

This next series is very important and dear to me. Unfortunately, i know/have heard of too many people who have been sexually assaulted and it is nothing short of horrific. After hearing brave stories and shedding numerous tears, i decided to write about this. While rape may seem like a "female thing", it is a human thing. I want women to seize their sexual sovereignty but i am also giving men some unseen insight into the complexities of rape.

I will provide creative writing, facts & statistics, personal advice/accounts, as well as dialogue about this topic that plagues THE GLOBE. if anyone has thoughts, topic suggestions, or anything regarding this blog series, feel free to DM me, facebook message me, or comment (if you wish to contribute anonymously, that's perfectly fine). Although this is an uncomfortable and controversial subject, i am a firm believer that true growth only happens outside of comfort zones. Here we go ..

All My Love,
Stevi Renee

@heartsNhandguns
Stevi Renee Facebook

11.05.2011

reality television : lucifer's playground


            Reality television has always been so intriguing to me. Like mice and monkeys, men and women (more times women) are placed into a controlled environment and observed. There is only one significant difference - mice seem to have a bit more dignity than humans. Basketball wives: a show of bitter, fighting women whose existence depends solely on the fame of the men they dated. The Real Housewives series: a plethora of shows that degrade the sanctity of marriage and family values. 16 & Pregnant: don’t get me started. Tough Love: although i enjoy this show, it's just a contemporary rendition of Shakespeare’s Taming of the ShrewAND if I’m not mistaken, I think I saw an episode of The Jersey Shore in which a cast member pulled her dress up & pee’d behind the bar of a club. I guess mice and monkeys are not as fun to watch.
            Some people are stunned that viewers fall victim to the lies of reality television, screaming, “It’s all scripted and fake!” Tis true. Producers film a fake friendship among strangers, create the fights and altercations, and even script the lines. Yet, what’s even more interesting is the indirect reality of “reality shows”.  REALITY TV IS ACTUALLY REALITY. Beyond the producers and marketing, it is a harsh reality that people will beat each other’s brains out, participate in self-destructive behavior, have unprotected sex, and ruin their reputes for a dollar & "mini-fame". that's the reality in which i am a little more scared. 
            A professor of mine believes that our generation has “surveillance paranoia”. We are born into an era that is accustomed to being followed and watched. Chatrooms in middle school. Myspace and AIM in highschool. Facebook, twitter, blogs, tumblr, youtube, and every other way for people to watch you. Consequently, this gives us every opportunity to construct ourselves into who we want people to see. This lifestyle has plastered a concrete-solid fa├žade on our personalities. We cannot even be ourselves when we are by ourselves because we constantly need to feed a persona. Honestly, perceptions are dangerous. While we're so busy manipulating people's perception of us, we're likely to LOSE OURSELVES in the process.

11.01.2011

letter to a meddling friend ...

to the nosey, wish-me-no-well friend,

this letter is for every girl who worries that their friend is "that hater". conniving friend, at first, you always seem to be so "concerned" with our lives. you want to know where we're going, what we're doing, who we are texting, and who we are with. you stick your nose in our endeavors and ask a thousand questions. at first, we'll brush off the fact that you scrunch up your nose at guys that we're dating or the men we're crushing on. we'll charge that to the game and say that you're just expressing your opinion. we'll shrug and say, "that's fine, i guess."

slowly, but surely, we'll notice you making snide comments like, "nah, i dont like him for you." and walking away as if your "extremely articulate and well-versed" opinion is God's immaculate gift to the green earth. we'll tilt our heads in confusion when we see you flirting with ex-boyfriends and talked-to's (probably the same guys that you advised us not to date). Similarly, it's only right that we would catch you venting to other friends about how we're 'not as pretty as people say she is'. Yes, the subtle, wish-me-no-well friends, we see you.

Sincerely,
Any girl with a hatin' bitter friend.

p.s. too many times we let our friends influence our lives when they dont know the first thing about how to live. i can often times sympathize with men who are annoyed by their girl's friends. they often times throw out their opinion with little good intention and when NO ONE ASKED THEM. make sure the people surrounding you are true friends. be careful of brutus.