Half the Sky – Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

I just learned about this amazing movement and organization called Half the Sky. It began as a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The book tackles the issue of oppression of women and girls in developing countries. The message of the book is simple: when we help women, we are helping the world.

The book has also been turned into a 4-hour PBS series,

“the series introduces women and girls who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable — and fighting bravely to change them. Their intimate, dramatic and immediate stories of struggle reflect viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offer an actionable blueprint for transformation.”

This serves as a huge reminder that gender equality worldwide is not just about women getting equal pay or defying gender roles – It’s about women and girls feeling empowered and being given opportunities in education. It’s about standing up to oppressive systems that promote objectification, sexualization and violence against women. it’s about women being treated as human beings.



Solé’s reflection on participating in Hysterical Literature

Clit Lit Manifesto

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”  -Beloved 


I’m sitting in a brightly lit room, with two strangers  whom I can’t help but find myself loving, in a space I seem to love more than my own bedroom, holding a book that  has loved me through my awkward adolescent years. In this space, in this moment, I am love, in its most complex, beautiful, and visceral state. Meditating  with a magic mantra that only Toni Morrison could fabricate,  I let this love envelop me, hold me, and rock me to ecstasy.

I remember the battles I’d fought in my head,  tournaments of tug of war: “Solé, if you do this your parents will kill you!”  “What if it ends up haunting you?” “What if the tape prevents you from getting a job”  etc… etc….. But then I remember that all of me is mine. Who I am supposed to be (in the context of race and gender) has been dictated to me for as long as I can remember. I am habitually  told what a woman can and cannot do, what Black people can and cannot do, what Blackness looks like, what it feels like, what we fuck like, what we love like. Manufactured understandings of race and gender have permeated  the very essence of my being….So hear my roaring moan of protest listen as I publicly take back the parts of me that society continually tries to negate, marginalize, undermine, and ignore.. Understand that all of me is mine. My body, my soul, my voice, my clitoris, my uterus, my Blackness  is mine and it is not up to you ( to society, to my family, to religion, to my friends)  to decide what I can I cannot do with it, and  it is not up to anyone, but me, to decide how and where I can display it.

So this is my  revolutionary act of selfishness… my virtual picket sign… my one woman rally… my  rebel yell… my sedentary march… a call for dialogue and understanding.. This is  divine fierce feminine energy manifested.. an homage to the spirit of creativity and innovation that is Momma Morrison… This is a giant fuck you  to the man who tried to colonize my own sexuality… a fuck you to patriarchy… to oppression… to gender roles… to group think… to racism… to sexism…to standards of beauty… This is a nod to  Aphrodite… Yemeja… Mary… Tara… Kali…Xochiquetzal…Erzulie. This is a call to sisterhood…to the arts… to sexual liberation… to doing something you believe in…to fighting for something that you really believe in… to truly embody a life of positive obsession…  But above all else this is a call to love….

I’m now sitting in a brightly lit room, with two people whom I now call friends, with a river of diamonds  in between my thighs, and legs that have forgotten what gravity feels like. A smile heavy like wet goose feathers bounces around my face and I erupt into a billowing  laugh that fills the room like fireflies. As I float back to earth, I am proud of my revolutionary act of selfishness and revel in its orgasmic goodness.

Beloved.. the one who Is loved… I love… I am love…


“Queen Clitoris” aka ” The Illegitimate child of Maya Deren and Frida Kahlo” aka “Brown Skinned Betty” aka  “Queen Goddess of the Ratchets” aka “Sweet Baby Sunshine” more formally known as Solé


PS: To my parents ( who I know will read this), I hope that you are as proud of me as I am of myself. I pray that you see the merit, the revolution that I am a part of, the importance of this project. I pray that the whispers from conservative church folk will not  seep into your psyche and that you’ll still love me as much as I have learned to love myself. Understand that I too am afraid… even though I bark a loud bark… I am vulnerable, and at times fear the worst… I hope that if I become weak from any public backlash that I’ll have your shoulders to lean on….

Hysterical Literature


Hysterical Literature is a video art project created by photographer Clayton Cubitt. In the series of videos you see women sitting at a table with a book in front of them. They state their name and the name of the book and begin to read a passage from it. As the video progresses you begin to notice a change in the reader’s facial expressions and body posture. Her breath quickens and she squirms in her seat and eventually she can no longer control herself enough to keep reading. By this time you realize that the woman has just had a real, genuine orgasm.

Cubitt says of the project,

“The title is a winking reference to the quack Victorian medical theory of ‘hysteria’ in women, and the vibrators and hydrotherapy treatments used to ‘cure’ them. On an individual level, I’m interested in the battle the sitter experiences between mind and body, and how long one retains primacy over the other, and when they reach balance, and when they switch control.

On a larger scale, I’m interested in how society draws a line between high and low art, between acceptable topics of discussion and taboo ones, between what can be worshiped and what must be hidden.”

I was a little unsure about what to think about this at first. I think that’s kind of the point. You’re not sure if it’s supposed to be pornographic, or humorous, or art. Maybe it’s a combination of the three. For whatever reason though, I think it’s kind of great. You end up rooting for these women to keep reading, but at the same time you’re rooting for them to just give it up already.

If it is porn, it doesn’t contain any of the aspects of most pornographic material that treat women as objects and project false ideas about what gives a woman pleasure. These videos present female sexuality and pleasure in a whole new light. So many men (and women too unfortunately) have never experienced an honest-to-goodness real life female orgasm and part of the problem is that the methods for obtaining them are not talked about. The ideas that men get from watching porn about what is pleasurable to a woman are completely off the mark, and if that’s where so many men are getting their information it’s no wonder more women aren’t experiencing orgasms with a male partner.

I don’t see these videos as objectifying women in the same way that most porn does. You don’t even see what exactly is going on under the table. All you see is her reaction.

At the very least, these videos are pretty entertaining to watch. Just make sure you put on some headphones before you do.