Arts, Activism, Awakening in Mind, Body, & Spirit

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NEWS: Jeanine Tesori & Lisa Kron Make History (and Herstory) at 2015 Tony Awards


Fun Home Tony Award Winners Jeanine Tesori Lisa Kron Make History YouTube VideoIn case you missed the Tony Awards on Sunday, history was made as Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first female writing team to win both the Best Score and Best Book for a musical in a Broadway season. To put it into perspective, the Tonys have been around since 1947, and it’s 2015. Yes, that’s 68 previous years in which women are practically non-existent in most of the creative and design categories. But Fun Home helped change that.

Tesori put it succinctly during her acceptance speech when she said, “I didn’t realize that a career in music was available to women until 1981 — I saw the magnificent Linda Twine conduct A Lady and Her Music: Lena Horne (sic). And that was my ‘Ring of Keys’ moment, which, by the way, is not a song of love but a song of identification because, for girls, you have to see it to be it.”

This is absolutely true! In order for girls to want to be the creators of musicals — and plays, and operas, and symphonies, and televisions, and films, girls have to see themselves reflected in the works they see produced. We need more women as writers, composers, directors, designers, and producers who are creating art from the perspective of women instead of women being presented in art through the filter of men’s perception of us.

Congratulations to Tesori and Kron, and I hope seeing their accomplishments will encourage girls to want to work at the proverbial drawing board not just in the spotlight on stage.

Watch their acceptance speeches on YouTube, and get the Broadway cast album of Fun Home here.

trish

* Originally posted on MusicalTheatreMagazine.com’s blog.*

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OpEd: Jon Stewart Nails It When Telling Caitlyn Jenner What to Expect as a Woman


Jon Stewart on Bruce Jenner Transformation into a Woman as Caitlyn JennerThe 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.

trish

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YouTube: Nigeria Criminalizes Female Genital Mutilation (Circumcision)


Nigeria Criminalizes Female Genital MutilationThe African country of Nigeria has passed a bill that makes Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) a crime. This is WONDERFUL news for women’s rights in Africa and hopefully will spread to other parts of the world that still carry out circumcision on minors. In fact female circumcision was only outlawed in the United States in 1996. Yes. Just 19 years ago.

Watch my YouTube video for more information on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM, a.k.a. circumcision).

Other blog posts and videos you may be interested in exploring:

Feel free to leave a comment here on the blog or on the video’s page! And please share!

trish

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OpEd: #SavingChase Court Case Comes to a Bad End as the Mother Signs Consent to Forced Circumcision


The topic of non-consensual cSaving Chase - Mother Consents to Son's Unnecessary Court-Ordered Circumcisionircumcision 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.

trish

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