Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
-Audre Lorde (thanks Jessamyn)
Want to do something truly radical today? Something that would rock the world and change the way it looked? Something that has the power to impact the lives of your daughters, nieces, cousins, sisters, and friends? Start loving your body!
Today is Love Your Body Day, an event started in 1998 by The National Organization for Women to fight against unhealthy stereotypes about women and women’s bodies and to encourage women to celebrate their bodies.
By teaching women practically from birth that their bodies are objects for public consumption and that those bodies are wrong, our culture is continuously oppressing girls and women. Fear, shame, and self-doubt are distractions we can’t afford. Fight against them and recognize that you are beautiful and that your body is not broken- it is whole and strong and cannot be held back.
NOW-NYC is holding our annual Love Your Body Day celebration tomorrow at 6pm. Join us if you’re in the New York area! More info here.
This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival.
Check out this incredibly interesting study from Sociological Images on Rolling Stones cover and the sexualization of MEN:
See some of Terry Richardson’s photographs on our Not Cool page.
October 6, 2011 | By Tracy Clark-Flory for Salon via AlterNet
Decades of research have failed to answer the question of why the female orgasm exists — and two recent conflicting studies on the subject have hardly changed that. Interestingly enough, though, both focus on a theory sure to anger some women: that their ability to climax is the mere byproduct of men’s orgasm, which has a clear evolutionary purpose. We may not have proof of this one way or another, but it’s worth exploring the potential cultural implications.
The most obvious explanation for the female big “O” is that it motivates women to have more sex, resulting in more babies (or, in wonkier terms, “reproductive success”). Another intuitive theory is that it serves to cement feelings of love and intimacy, thereby supporting parental investment. Then there’s the, um, evocatively named “sperm upsuck” theory — that uterine contractions during orgasm help draw in little swimmers. But many of these approaches have been empirically discredited and it’s the “byproduct” theory that has been held in increasing esteem by researchers.
The thinking behind the “male nipples” explanation, as I like to call it, is that women have the tissues and nerve pathways needed for orgasm simply because of their shared embryological origins with males, whose orgasms serve a clear evolutionary purpose. In other words, women have orgasms for the same reason men have nipples. On the face of it, the byproduct theory seems rather male-focused and maybe even anti-feminist. It falls right in step with the Freudian notion of women’s penis envy: Men have prominent, easily orgasmic members, while we ladies are stuck with our itty-bitty imitator, the clitoris.
But as Elisabeth Lloyd, a philosopher of biology, argued in her 2005 book “The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution,” “The real problem with this view is that it assumes that in order to be really important, female sexuality, and in particular female orgasm, must have been a direct target of natural selection among females. But there is no reason at all to think that only directly selected traits are ‘important.’” She points to examples of valued traits that aren’t directly selected: “refined musical ability, the ability to design rockets, and even the ability to read.”
On the other hand, it’s also possible that the byproduct view could actually support feminist efforts against the so-called medicalization of female pleasure. “If female orgasm is seen as having no particular evolutionary function, but rather as an evolutionary freebie, then many diagnoses of ‘Female Orgasmic Disorder’ would be out the window, and women anywhere on the spectrum of orgasmic performance might be seen as normal,” Lloyd writes in an upcoming article. She argues that this view, which she refers to as the “fantastic bonus” theory, has the benefit of casting “all women as equally ‘normal’ in their orgasmic responses to heterosexual intercourse. The account expects no particular ‘adaptive’ set of responses to intercourse, and thus privileges none.” Meaning, “women who don’t have orgasm at all are as normal as women who always have orgasm with intercourse.”
That just might throw a wrench into pharmaceutical companies’ machinations over the potential for a “female Viagra.” Speaking of, Leonore Tiefer created the New View Campaign to “challenge the distorted and oversimplified messages about sexuality that the pharmaceutical industry relies on.” She wrote me in an email that an orgasm is “a nice thing,” but “it doesn’t last very long, and it’s not the easiest thing to have, so I think it’s overrated.” Tiefer, a psychiatry professor at New York University, quoted journalist Malcolm Muggeridge: “The orgasm has replaced the cross as the focus of human longing and fulfillment.” That line, she says, “summarizes for me the symbolic importance of the orgasm in contemporary life.” As for the uncertainty surrounding it, she says: “It’s mysterious, I think, because its symbolic value is so high (it ‘proves’ to a partner and to oneself that one is sexual, satisfied, fully female) and yet the material essence is complicated.”
“Men-ups!” is a humorous project by photographer Rion Sabean featuring men doing pin-up-style poses.
Wednesday, October 12, Quad Cinema - 34 West 13th Street, NYC | 7:00 PM
Purchase tickets now for the 10/12 NYC Premiere of America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments http://bit.ly/nVZpYz In an instant, 29 million Americans became fat, out of shape and dangerously obese… and they did it without taking a single bite of food. It was all the result of a decision to change the national standard for obesity. The question is “What was behind a ruling to declare so many people to be obese on the BMI scale? Was it political, financial or for the good of humankind?” The answer lies in a new film by award-winning director Darryl Roberts who, in a follow-up to “America The Beautiful”, examines the cause of our country’s obsession with dieting. Youll find out that diet companies have raked in huge profits because of the new standards — guidelines the weight loss industry helped structure. The film also weighs in on the raging debate between doctors who believe in health no matter one’s size and others who disagree. Covering issues such as America’s unhealthy dieting craze, the use of the outdated and misleading BMI scale and the currently touted “obesity epidemic,” Roberts debates the widely believed concepts that you have to be thin to be healthy. During his journey, he discovers the plethora of factors contributing to America’s body dissatisfaction, many of which are being promoted by doctors, schools, the government, and even the First Lady of the United States. Roberts raises the question, “Is America missing the mark in it’s fight against obesity and causing collateral damage in the process?”