Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Locker Room Feelings

I've recently been attending water aerobics with my wifey while she has a free visitor pass for the month of July. I used to go the YMCA a lot with my mom for water aerobics when I was younger, but ever remember the locker room being an issue. Since my teen years, I have gone to the gym and never needed to use the locker room because I come in work out gear and leave in the same.
Now, at 26 and comfortable in my own skin the locker room experiences have been awkward. Which is really strange to me because you'd think being body positive and happy, it'd be easier. First, let me tell you about the layout - There's four giant open spaces with about 200 lockers, 4 showers, and 7 bathroom stalls (1 being handicapped). Now, let me mention this particular story happened when said wifey, Leah had to leave class early this past weekend.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

#CelebrateYourCellulite

The world of fashion magazines and general societal pressures will have you believe that cellulite is bad or not normal. The fashion industry has made it's entire living off presenting an ideal for people to strive to - completely knowing that the ideal is unattainable. The truth is, 85-98% of women have cellulite. Men can have it, but it is way more prevalent in females. Cellulite occurs in most postpubescent woment. The causes of cellulite are vast - including changes in metabolism, physiology, dieting too hard or too much, sex-specific dimorphic skin architecture, alteration of connective tissue structure, hormonal factors, genetic factors, the microcirculatory system, the extracellular matrix, and subtle inflammatory alterations.

So even though this is a fact of life that predates junk food (see my source), wasn't a "problem" for American women until about 1960, and literally happens to almost every woman - we need to get rid of it. Much like body hair, it is something we're conditioned to hate. If you would prefer to look a certain way because of your personal preference, I'm all about that for you. What I don't like is being told since I was 10, reading my mom's magazines that I needed to be hairless, tight skinned, and of a certain height, weight, and hair color. Especially when most of the things that I'm told are wrong with me are naturally occurring.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Gaslighting

We all forget what we said or who we said it to from time to time. We all are guilty of being forgetful and then claiming we're not. None of us can always be right. However, if you are constantly doubting yourself, feel the need to apologize for everything you say, or if you notice yourself avoiding saying certain things because of you're afraid of someone's reactions - this is not a healthy relationship dynamic.

Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity. Gaslighting is an intentional and manipulative tactic used by people to get their way, to make it seem like the other person is at fault.

The term comes from the play, Gas Light by Patrick Hamilton. In the play and it's film adaptations, Bella is convinced that the gas lights in their house are dimming. Her husband, Jack, who is indeed dimming the lights tells her he sees no difference. He attempts to convince her she's insane by denying over and over the fact that she sees the change in illumination. Whenever it comes up around others, he still sticks by his story, claiming she's gone crazy.

The goal of gaslighting is to make the victim no longer trust their own judgment which makes them buy into the assertions of the manipulator, thus coming under their power and control. More often than not, this will start off with little seemingly trivial things (like the gas light) that you feel silly even arguing about. It will be slow and subtle then can escalate over time. They target a person's "gut feeling" of being tricked. Their gut tells them that they should be defensive and then the aggressor plays it off as being "over dramatic". When the victim can't find any clear motive for this behavior, they start doubting or questioning themselves. The abuser wins by getting the victim to back down or give in.


Here are the signs that you are possibly being gaslighted:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fourth of July!

Since I don't like the paparazzo catching me in the same outfit too many times, I did three outfit changes this fourth of July. Myke and I also found time in between all that dressing and picture taking, to attend a two hour long parade, go to a carnival/festival, eat lots of Italian food, and watch the fireworks! Here's some pictures from my lovely fourth!







Monday, July 6, 2015

Slut Shaming

Slut


(n.) derogatory

(n.) slut; plural noun: sluts 

          1. A woman who has many sexual partners.

         Synonyms: promiscuous woman, whore, lady of the night.

         2. dated: A woman with low standards of cleanliness.


("Definition of Slut in English:." Slut: Definition of Slut in Oxford Dictionary (American English) (US). N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.)

Slut is a word almost exclusively used to describe the character of a woman.

This word is used differently by men and women. Women use it to describe someone based on the way she dresses, how much make up she wears, who she hangs out with, her actions, her moral code/compass, and more prominently; how often and with how many people she engages with in sexual activity. It can also be used as a term of "endearment" amongst friends. Men seem to simplify it down to one thing: someone who has "too much" sex.

There's the idea implied that there are "good" girls and "bad" girls. There are no guidelines for what this means though, no absolute set rules for a girl to follow. Girls learn from what they read in magazines, see on the internet in criticism of their favorites singers and actors, watch in movies and TV. Girls learn from their parents, their friends, their teachers, but it's all relative to the person throwing around the word "slut", "whore", "hoe", and "thot". The general idea is that if you don't want to be labeled a slut or be "asking for it," you need to dress a certain way, physically appear a certain way, and have little to no sexual experience. This often translates to the misconception that a socially deemed "bad" girl deserves to be shamed for her choices. Taking this even farther, it can lead to objectification, and even victim blaming if a girl is sexually assaulted. (But that's a whole 'nother story.)

"Good girls" are not supposed to like anything that's not "normal" or "vanilla" in bed or at least, don't talk about it. Just never. "Good girls" don't have sex outside of marriage or at least out of love and a committed relationship. If you're a virgin, but you fantasize about sex or are curious about it and have questions, you're "a slut who just can't lose it". But also, God forbid if you reach a certain age and haven't had sex. Giving way to the ever annoying and terrible cliche double standard: You fuck too much you're a whore, you fuck too little and you're a prude.

What I learned in my youth was just don't ever talk about sex or sexual activity or sexual desires or fantasies. Don't talk about birth control or protection or your period. What I've learned in my adulthood is that "sex" or "sexual intercourse" means something different to everyone. People classify "losing their virginity" as vastly different acts across gender identities, sexual preferences, and cultures. Furthermore, it's no one else's business.

There's only a few things I care about when the topic of sexual encounters come up:
  • Was it consensual?
  • Were you safe with your bits (BC, condoms, but also including your heart)?
  • Did you both enjoy it (cause I'm nosey)?
You know what I don't care about?
  • When's the last time you had sex?
  • How many people have you had sex with?
  • Who were they?
  • Where were you?
  • What stuff are you into?
  • Anything you don't willingly want to tell me.
It's not ANY of my business what happens behind closed doors - or in public! A woman deserves equal respect no matter how much or as little sexual activity she wants to participate in or discuss. When the topic of someone's current sexual activity or sexual past come up, it is not be the duty of the listener to condemn or encourage said behavior. You are merely a bystander unless immediate danger is apparent or suspected.

And if all that's happening behind closed doors is hand holding - I'm happy for you too! I want YOU to do what makes YOU happy. We, as a society, need to stop shaming - "sluts", "prudes", and in between. No one feel shamed or guilty for doing or not doing anything!


Until Next Time,
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Special thanks to my IG Crush all day, e'ery day @peach_e_paige for her inspiration and insight on this piece.