Hey Y’all!

Hey Y’all!

First of all, I want to mention something that one of my sociology professors told me and the rest of my Sociology of the Family class a couple years ago, something which I’ve never forgotten and totally stand by: “Y’all” has a stigma. Maybe because it’s a Southern expression, it’s assumed to be something that “less educated” people use in their vocabulary. I’m sure there’s a racial prejudice tied into the stigma as well. The point is that “Y’all” get’s a bad rap, and I call bullshit to that because in my opinion it is the most inclusive way to address a group of people regardless of gender.

Everyone knows Y’all’s widely used alternative = “You guys.” Seriously? That’s the expression we’re sticking with? Not to mention the awkwardness of formulating the plural possessive form: Is it “Your guys’s?” or “You guys’s?” or “Yous guys’?” Someone give me an eloquent answer to that question and I’ll hand over all the money I have in my wallet. Really.

So I’m making a case for Y’all. I have to admit, I’m from the North East and Y’alls are pretty scarce here. It doesn’t come to me naturally but I try to work it into conversation when I can. If anyone ever challenges you for using Y’all by saying it sounds uneducated you go right ahead and ask them why. I’ll bet you they can’t come up with an answer.

Y’all is inclusive. Not just for guys, not even just for guys and girls. Y’all is for All.

(“Folks” is also a good alternative)

All that aside, I am going to try to post more regularly to this blog. I have several other blogs that I manage on top of work and an internship, etc. etc. But gender and sexuality issues and social justice in general is something I cannot go a day without thinking about – it is something that you just can’t turn off, although sometimes I wish I could. I wouldn’t think about these things so much if they weren’t so important to me, and I hope to share my thoughts, as well as articles, pictures, and other media on this blog to anyone who finds it as interesting and important as I do.

I hope y’all enjoy 🙂

Study Debunks Notion That Men and Women are Psychologically Distinct

 “The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has dealt a devastating blow to the notion that men and women are fundamentally different when it comes to how they think and act.

“Although gender differences on average are not under dispute, the idea of consistently and inflexibly gender-typed individuals is,” Bobbi J. Carothers of Washington University in St. Louis and Harry T. Reis of the University of Rochester explained in their study. “That is, there are not two distinct genders, but instead there are linear gradations of variables associated with sex, such as masculinity or intimacy, all of which are continuous.”

Analyzing 122 different characteristics from 13,301 individuals in 13 studies, the researchers concluded that differences between men and women were best seen as dimensional rather than categorical. In other words, the differences between men and women should be viewed as a matter of degree rather than a sign of consistent differences between two distinct groups.”

 

YES. SOMEONE GETS IT.

[Source: American Psychological Association]

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 

 Start:

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…

Signed

“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

Fin

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….

Gender Equality

In each issue, the editors of Global Agenda invite contributors to explore one of the big questions of the year. In this issue we asked: What does Gender Equality mean? Is it achievable? Below are responses from Naomi Wolf, Ronan Farrow, Chloe Breyer, Naina Lal Kidwai, Caitlin Moran, Ellen MacArthur, Nicholas D. Kristof and Leta Hong Fincher.

NAOMI WOLF

Naomi Wolf
Andre Lambertson

Author of ‘’The Beauty Myth’’ and ‘’Vagina: A New Biography’’

When I hear the words ‘’gender equality,’’ or ‘‘feminism,’’ I am always baffled as to why these concepts could ever be contentious. To me, these ideas are so mainstream, so much a part of our basic cultural heritage.

What ‘’gender equality’’ or ‘’feminism’’ should mean — I suppose if gender equality is the goal, feminism is the process of how we get there — is the logical extension of the core idea of democracy.

I date my feminism to the Enlightenment — to Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote, at the end of the 18th century, ‘‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.’’ Her essay was squarely aligned with other Enlightenment thinkers’ appeals to reason, to the rights of man, and to the notion of equality of dignity among all people. This Enlightenment vision is so powerful, and so right, that it has spread around the world, from the ‘‘one person, one vote’’ advocates in Sierra Leone, to the Tahrir Square protesters in Egypt, to the furious parents in Sichuan Province in China, who fought the regional Communist Party’s refusal to release information about how their children died in a poorly-built school during an earthquake. Underlying all of these movements is the democratic ideal from the 1790s that asserts: No one person has the natural right to suppress, silence or dominate any other person, simply because of where both are situated in society.

But what that set of beliefs isn’t is as important as what it is. Feminism, in my view, should always have kept that original precept in sight as it pursued its aims from one generation to the next. It doesn’t prescribe lifestyle choices. It doesn’t dictate sexual decisions. It doesn’t define itself in terms of cultural battles. True feminism empowers anyone to be free and to have equal opportunity and access to equal legal rights and the rule of law. But it doesn’t dictate what that free person should be doing with her or his freedom.

Unfortunately, Western feminism is too often bogged down in cultural battles, in asserting a checklist of political policies. For two decades, I have been insisting that there can certainly be a right-wing, a libertarian, and a left- wing feminist agenda — because what makes a ‘’feminist’’ is not the policy outcome. Democracy is a concatenation of voices arising out of many individual free lives.

I think we need to reassert our Enlightenment heritage in the fight for gender justice in the West. The feminists of Africa, Asia and the Middle East have now outstripped Western feminists as pioneers for gender justice — partly because they do not see women’s fight for justice as pitting them against men, against family life or even against faith. They draw on the Wollstonecraftian heritage of democracy and human rights, which is very hard to mock or dismiss.

RONAN FARROW

Ronan Farrow
La Carmina

Writer and diplomat, most recently special adviser to Hillary Clinton

I grew up with seven sisters. I tolerated boy bands. I learned to put the seat down. I also witnessed the power of women’s leadership. My childhood dinner-table fights would still be raging without steely negotiation from girls. Years later, watching an argument rage in a dusty Islamic classroom in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I remember seeing that same power. At first, only the men talked. But finally, Nipa Masud, seated in the back with a dangerous glint in her eye, leapt to her feet, unleashed a torrent of critiques. The floodgates open, every girl spoke up, swiftly ending the debate. The girls didn’t speak first, but they spoke loudest. There can be no confronting our challenges without those voices. Countries with more women in their governments are less likely to suffer internal armed conflicts. Goldman Sachs projected that leveling women’s and men’s employment rates would add 9 percent to the United States’ G.D.P., 13 percent to Europe’s, and 16 percent to Japan’s. In some ways, we are closer to securing equal space for women to participate than ever. Gender gaps in primary and secondary education rates are closing. More than half a billion women joined the work force over the last 30 years. But women everywhere still face senseless obstacles. In October, militants in Pakistan gunned down 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai for her activism supporting girls’ education. Countless stories like hers never reach the world. It is up to all of us to protect women, their rights and their opportunities. In a recent McKinsey survey of successful female businesswomen, an overwhelming majority said they don’t aspire to top positions. Women who have made it to the top need to stay there and fight for a world where Nipa, Malala, and countless girls like them are not just able, but expected, to lead.

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She Must Challenge

“Woman must not accept; she must challenge.

She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her;

she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.” -Margaret Sanger

The aim of this blog is to promote strong women and positive trends towards gender equality, observe issues within the realms of gender & sports, feminism, reproductive health, slut shaming, sexuality, and body issues, and to find empowerment for those who are told they are “less than.”