Wow! Has it really been 300 blog posts — already?! I still can’t believe I just passed 3 years of doing ArousedWoman. And to think I’ve now written 300 articles, posts, reviews, and rants about women’s sexuality and activism is just amazing. That’s 300 posts over 3 years, which equals 100 per year, or about 2 per week on average. No wonder I’m exhausted!
ArousedWoman began as a simple website and this blog on which I bared my soul and my experiences as I reclaimed my body and my life. I had left my marriage a year or so before, and I had recently begun exploring my sexuality. I felt dead sexually and wanted so much more. I began a Tantric journey and discovered things I never knew could actually exist; and I wrote about them here.
In so doing, I encountered amazing experiences that absolutely challenged my concept of infinity and pleasure, and it made me deal with long-buried issues of sexual abuse that I had neatly locked away and thought I had dealt with years ago. Processing these immense highs and these painful lows was overwhelming at times, but it was necessary for me, especially if I hope ever to have a successful relationship for myself someday. I am still a work-in-progress.
Honestly, if I had not taken off most of 2014 while I was running for Congress, I would have reached this milestone sooner. But I am proud of the work I have done here on ArousedWoman. I’m proud of the AW extensions via the radio show, the YouTube videos, and the upcoming magazine. But most of all, I am proud of being able to help so many people who didn’t feel they could turn to someone else.
Over the course of 300 posts, I have written on anatomy and sexual function, communication and relationships, health and fitness, and of course, activism and equality. In the process, ArousedWoman has become a trusted source of information in regard to women’s sexuality AND has been named a #1 site for sexuality and relationship information for couples.
This is just the beginning! I have sooooooo much more to do for you and with you. Expect a complete overhaul later this year as I work on expanding ArousedWoman into a more life-encompassing resource. It’s gonna be fabulous!
As always, I love you, and I thank you for being with me on this journey.
Aroused and doing the happy dance,
The last two minutes of Sunday’s “Game of Thrones” finale sent the internet into a frenzy as Jon Snow succumbed to an “Et tu, Brute`” ending. And yet, no one is talking about the beatings of the women in the finale, Cersei’s solo walk of shame, or the systematic abuse and rape of women throughout the show’s seasons. I address this in my latest YouTube video: youtu.be/YEx8CBo_ziY or watch it below.
When people speak of “Game of Thrones”, they marvel at the costumes, the production values, the pseudo-medieval landscape of knights, swords, and dragons. In fact, before I had ever seen GOT, I asked about it on Facebook, and the comments were all enthusiastic, with one in particular exclaiming, “You’ll love the costumes and the look of it. And the sex is GREAT!” The sex, of course, was mostly incestuous.
Fast forward past the hideous reign of the sadistic Joffrey, abuse of women is so commonplace in the show as to have lost any impact at all — in much the same way rape and domestic violence are pervasive in American culture but considered a “women’s issue”, leaving women the task and responsibility of not getting raped or beaten.
“Game of Thrones” gets its social commentary right sometimes. The storylines of religious fanaticism rising up and taking over the government to create a fascist state of oppression is a direct mirror of the Tea Party in America. The targeting and persecution of homosexuals was a realistic plotline with which many in the LGBT community can identify. But where is the episode in which all the women band together and address the battery and assault of women?
The subjugation of women in media reflects the fight women are still waging in society-at-large to live in a world that recognizes women are human beings. At the time of this writing, the Equal Rights Amendment is still in limbo. American women are not equally protected under the Constitution.
In the United States, women make up 51% of the population, 51% of small business owners, 52% of voters, 52% of the professional-level work force, and 60% of college graduates; plus, we control 80% of consumer spending. Why aren’t 51% of the television shows and films centered on women and women’s issues? Why aren’t 52% of the writers, directors, and creative artists women? Why aren’t 60% of corporate CEO’s female? Why don’t 80% of advertisements portray women as complete, healthy, fulfilled human beings instead of reducing us to the industry-standard Photoshopped, hypersexualized marketing prop?
Only 20% of the United States Congressional body is comprised of women — even Afghanistan has women in 27% of seats in its Parliament, according to the Quota Project. The Inter-Parliamentary Union ranks the United States 72nd in the world for women in national parliaments. And why hasn’t the United States had a female president yet? The United States ranks 78th in the world for having women in top positions of executive power. China, India, the Philippines, Latvia, Georgia, Ireland, Rwanda, Cuba, Indonesia, South Korea, Chile, Argentina, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia, the Bahamas, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the Central African Republic are just some of the countries that have had a woman as a president and/or head of state.
What could possibly be holding the United States back from women’s advancement in government, business, education, and society, in general? If you guessed “patriarchy”, you are correct. The foundation of all modern civilizations is patriarchy, an institutionalized form of culture that feeds off of misogyny, intolerance, and violence and specializes in the oppression of women through sexualized violence and domestic abuse.
Cultural phenomena such as “Game of Thrones” that harken back to a dark age of brutality and violence against women reveal our culture’s deep-rooted misogyny and help keep the cultural mentality stuck in a bleak, abusive purview that ultimately harms everyone, not just women. This mentality is reflected on college campuses that require incoming female students to attend a “how not to get raped” orientation rather than teaching the incoming males not to attack female students. Over 80% of reported rapes are committed by someone the woman knows, which insinuates that some men still think they have an unwritten entitlement to sex, willing or not.
How do we fix this everyday sexism in culture and media?
Hire more women writers to create new works. This will give an authentic voice to storylines about women so that the portrayal of women is not limited to male writers’ secondary filter of how men think women are or how women should be. The Broadway League’s 2002 poll of professional theatres and venues revealed that only 20% of theatre professionals, such as creatives and designers, are women.
Hire more women directors. Women have our own aesthetic, our own rhythms, and our own ideas about how relationships — romantic or not, can be portrayed. A simple theatre exercise will prove that the same script can look and sound completely differently when directed by a woman than by a man. Difference is okay. The world will not fall off its axis because conflict was resolved without the quasi-obligatory male machismo or violence.
Put a woman at the center of the story and the action in new works. Write her to be a leader who does not spend half of her time talking about a man — or obsessing over a romantic relationship — and who does not have to endure a plotpoint of being raped — as if women can only gain personal, internal strength by being raped.
#WhereAreTheWomen was a powerful rallying cry for feminists during the 2012 election year, and it is absolutely valid in most professions. Women make up only 4.8% of Fortune 500’s list of female CEO’s, while Rutgers University’s studies on the gender gap in college settings show only 24% of full-time professors are women. The numbers are even worse in the professional, commercial arts that create the entertainment media that pervade our culture, such as “Game of Thrones”.
The 2015 Academy Awards had eight films nominated for Best Picture. Not one film had a woman as the main character. Of the five directors up for Best Director and of the 10 films nominated in the Writing categories, not one nominee was a woman. For the 2015 Tony Awards, not one of the nominees in the categories of Best Director of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, or Best Scenic Design of a Musical was a woman. But history (and herstory) was made when Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first female writing team to win composer/writer Tony Awards for a show. It only took 69 years for that to happen.
The bottom line is this: our voices are not being heard. Our stories are not being told.
According to the World Economic Forum, the United States ranks #20 in the world for economic gender equality, behind Nicaragua, Rwanda, and South Africa. The United Nations has reported that 70% of women experience a sexual attack at some point in their lives. The U.N. also works for gender equality through its Development Programme to help women around the world: 60% to 70% of the world’s poor are women, over 65% of women are illiterate, and over 30% of women are subjected to some form of violence during their lifetimes.
Men cannot tell our stories for us. Only women can tell women’s stories fully and authentically.
This is not a coincidence. This is a systematic silencing of women across society. This is why popular shows such as “Game of Thrones” are able to thrive with little opposition or outrage toward the portrayal of violence against women. After all, why complain about the way women are mistreated when the sword fights and costumes are so cool?
Wake up. Speak up. Be heard.
The former Bruce Jenner was an Olympian and respected personality. The new Caitlyn Jenner is fodder for media outlets to either extol her bravery or ridicule her journey to what is still considered weak and inferior — being a woman.
Like many others, I posted the Vanity Fair cover on my Facebook wall, and comments ranged from, “She looks fabulous” to “Her breasts look real!” Today, in a restaurant, I overheard men talking about the “Jenner thing” (their word for all the media hype), and they referred to her as “it”. Not him or her, just “it”. Now that she is no longer a masculine specimen to behold and revere, she is just her looks, her breasts, and an oddity: an “it”.
Jon Stewart hit the nail on the head in his acerbic commentary on Jenner’s transformation, noting that now that she is a woman, the only thing people will consider is her “comparative fuckability”. The Olympic gold medal is in the past. Jenner’s accomplishments in the future rest solely on how attractive she is. Thank god, she’s thin. I mean, if she were trans and fat and ugly, there’s no telling how the media would have treated her…. Or would the media have cared at all?
Another aspect of this journey that fascinates people is Jenner’s penis, which she still has according to interviews she has given. It is customary for a transwoman to wait a year before making the decision to turn the penis and scrotum into a vagina. This is a huge decision, and the penis surgery will be irreversible once done.
People are fascinated by the genitals, and we all know how much men adore their penises. Nearly every monument men have left throughout history has been phallic, from Egyptian obelisks to the Washington Monument to New York skyscrapers. Men who are insecure about their virility due to size tend to overcompensate in other ways, leading to accusations of Napoleonic Syndrome. And let’s not forget all the ammosexuals who must prove their manhood by showing off their bigger, longer, powerful assault rifles at the grocery store.
The penis transformation of sexual reassignment surgery continues to boggle people’s minds — because a person lucky enough to be born with a penis certainly must be crazy to cut it off, right? Having a penis comes with so much entitlement in our world. In the 20th century, tobacco companies marketed cigarettes to women with the understated sell that having a cigarette meant women could finally have a penis, too. Women no longer needed to be jealous that they were penis-less. Therefore, a man giving up everything that embodies masculinity to become a woman is the punchline to a cruel joke because being feminine, being female, being a woman is obviously still looked down upon in our society.
To Caitlyn Jenner: I wish it were different, and I think you are incredibly brave to have gone through this whole ordeal so publicly. But to echo Jon Stewart, welcome to life as a woman in this vast expanse of patriarchy, where your looks matter more than your intellect, your abilities, or your heart.
I hope this pain you’ve endured will help others who are also in pain. Thank you for being a role model — whether you are wearing sneakers or heels.
The topic of non-consensual circumcision has routinely made the nightly news as the fate of a four-year-old boy and his intact penis have been the center of attention of news coverage in America and beyond.
As you know, I am a staunch body integrity activist, and in the situation of circumcision, we activists who fight to protect boys and girls from non-consensual circumcision are called intactivists. I have written about circumcision several times on this blog, and I’ve written about this case once before. I’ve even done a radio episode on the topic of male circumcision, and I’ve answered a reader’s question via my YouTube channel regarding the effects of male circumcision on women. But I was waiting to write more about this court case in the hopes that the final verdict would recognize the boy’s right to body autonomy and self-determination. Unfortunately, the result of this case is heartbreaking.
The case involves Chase, a boy caught in the middle of a battle between his two parents, Heather Hironimus and Dennis Nebus. The parents both originally agreed to the circumcision when Chase was an infant, but the mother, Hironimus, changed her mind. Fast forward past a long court battle and skipping town to avoid having the procedure done on Chase, Hironimus has finally given her consent to the unnecessary body mutilation of her son, which shocked and saddened intactivists around the world.
Heather Hironimus has been a heroine to intactivists who have been following the case, nicknamed in social media as #SavingChase. Her motherly instincts to protect her child in full alert, she fled with Chase, staying on the run to prevent her son from undergoing a cosmetic medical procedure to amputate a perfectly normal, healthy, and functionally important part of his penis. There is absolutely no reason for this (or any) circumcision to be performed. Hironimus turned herself in and was jailed May 14, 2015.
Today, she signed the “consent” form to have Chase circumcised, and by “consent”, I mean the court-coerced agreement to have her son’s sexual anatomy harmed in exchange for her freedom. If a woman had “sex” with a man because the alternative was bodily harm to her child, that is not actual “consent” — we would still call that rape. The justice system has ordered the sexual assault on a four-year-old boy, who has actually verbalized his terror at having the procedure done to his body. That means, the owner of the penis has said, “No.” Yet the court has ordered him raped anyway.
Even though Hironimus signed the “consent” to have her son mutilated, The Sun Sentinel reports Hironimus’ legal battles are not over:
Now, she’s facing a criminal charge that carries a maximum punishment of five years in state prison if convicted…. She is charged with interference of custody, a third-degree felony, from her months of hiding with the boy in a Broward County domestic violence shelter.
There is absolutely no reason to violate any baby boy’s (or girl’s) right to body autonomy and self-determination. Every child has a basic human right to decide what happens to his or her body. The lies about circumcision being better or safer are perpetuated here in the United States by medical companies and organizations that profit financially from the sale of foreskins to cosmetic companies and biotech labs.
Female circumcision is now illegal in the United States, and the same lies about removing a boy’s foreskin being safer, healthier, and looking better were all used in the propaganda to justify female genital mutilation in days gone by. In fact, the male foreskin has at least 16 known functions to protect the penis and urinary tract, and it contains cells that prevent bacterial infections and the spread of viruses. But actual science does not seem to matter when a societal and cultural “tradition” is determined to have its way.
And if you want to get into the religious argument, this boy is an American citizen, which means he has a First Amendment right to freedom from religion. Chase and his body have been used in a tug-of-war between two parents who couldn’t get their act together — I am not even sure why the father has gone to this length to have his son mutilated. At least the mother was trying to save the boy an unnecessary medical procedure that no one should be able to order except Chase himself. And Chase HAS verbalized that he does NOT want part of his penis amputated. What about the doctor who is to perform the abhorrent procedure? The Hippocratic Oath instructs to “first do no harm”. Will the doctor heed that oath when Chase is brought in kicking and screaming, “NO!”, to the procedure to which he has not consented?
As any feminist knows, body integrity and the right to choose what happens to your body is a basic human right. If you want your penile or clitoral foreskin removed, you should have the choice to do that when you are 18+. No one should have the authority to force you to have unnecessary, medically unfounded, cosmetic surgical changes to your body that will have lasting effects physically, sexually, emotionally, and psychologically. Your body. Your choice.
In my opinion, the father, this judge, and the doctor will all be guilty of sexually assaulting a minor. And they should go to prison, not the mother.