annogus

Oh hey. I'm Anna, a working girl in Grand Rapids, Michigan, blogging about nostalgia, creativity, and societal woes. My vices include soda, nail-biting, and sarcasm.
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From frustrated to verklempt, it’s been quite a week. I never really crossed over into crying territory, but my eyes were definitely more moist and leaky than usual. Let’s move from worst to best, shall we?

Feminspire posted this roundup of recent legislative developments regarding women’s reproductive health. You know that dream where you are trying to escape, but every possible out is blocked? Brick walls, doors that don’t go anywhere, and definitely no voice to scream with. That’s how this made me feel. I could feel my chest getting tighter with each item, and frustrated tears forming in my eyes.

This is the kind of legislative action that originally opened my eyes to the disfunction of the pro-life movement. This is not about the sanctity of life anymore, folks. An excellent essay was written on this at Common Dreams last year: Pro-Life or Just Pro-Sperm? And of course, Libby Anne’s personal journey: How I Lost Faith in the Pro-Life Movement

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Roger Ebert died yesterday. It wasn’t incredibly unexpected, but I was surprised by my personal reaction. (tears. again.) Salon re-posted his essay I Do Not Fear Death, and it’s really beautiful. I have a huge amount of admiration for people who understand the interconnectedness of all things, and I think Ebert was one of those people. He also understood the incredible power of stories and film to influence peoples’ lives. His writings on these things resonate with me and give me hope. 

And, of course, his final written words, “So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.”

 

Kid President took a trip to the White House to meet President Obama. It’s a cute video overall, but the moment that got me is at 1:10. This man showing this little boy a program from Dr. King’s March on Washington in the Oval Office. There they are. There are the tears. 

(however, really, dude? Really.)

And finally, my most triumphant tears of the week. I was sent a teaser track from The Campanellis new album Camp Optimist. They are some of my dearest friends, this is their first album, and it’s so damn good. Life is so much easier when your friends are talented. You don’t have to pretend to be a fan, and sit through painful shows at shitty bars. And I’ve gotta say, it’s especially fun when they play power pop.

Again, I really did not predict that I would actually get worked up over this. How silly. But as each piece came in, and I heard Jon and then Paul and Dan and Keith and Joel, doing what they love and doing it well, it just got to me. Enjoy.

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IRL Things:

This has been my lunch spot for the past two days. Sure, it’s a little sparse, but that blue sky is just raging.

I took Wednesday off this week just because. It turned out to be one of the first truly beautiful days so far. I took a walk downtown, renewed my license and library card, bought a stack of records at Vertigo, and enjoyed some tasty sushi.

From the Interwebs:

That Just Means He Likes You
It’s generally accepted as common knowledge that when kids are violent with each other, “That just means he likes you.” (I’ve heard it said for girls as well, though much less often.) So where is the line? When does it stop being cute? Or does that just morph into the hunter/prey romance narrative we’re taught?

How did society become so oblivious to the fact that we were conditioning our daughters to endure abusive treatment, much less view it as romantic overtures?

Justice Alito’s Quote of the Day
In the SCOTUS deliberations on marriage equality this week, Justice Alito expressed concern that same-sex marriage was just too new and that society should move ahead on it’s own time through elected representatives.

“[W]hen the Supreme Court struck down the bans against interracial marriage in 1968 through Virginia vs. Loving, SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT of Americans were against interracial marriage. As a matter of fact, approval of interracial marriage in the US didn’t cross the positive threshold until — sweet God – 1991.”

The reason we don’t leave it for the people is because rights of marginalized people shouldn’t be dependent on whether privileged people choose decency over the maintenance of undeserved privilege.

The Objectification of Jon Hamm
A really interesting thing has been happening to Jon Hamm recently. He’s being treated like an actress. And it’s weirding him out. As it should. Hamm is an outspoken advocate for women, so perhaps this random role-reversal can shed some light on the ridiculous and reductive things the media does to female celebrities.

Pope Washes Women’s Feet in Break with Church Law
My views on the papacy and worldwide church structure aside, this act is very powerful. And the fact that there is actual backlash against something so incredibly and obviously Christlike is simultaneously horrifying and telling.

And finally, a pretty thing for you. One of my favorite collage artists: Joe Webb. His work is nostalgic and romantic and a little disconcerting. Go look at them all.

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EDITED!

Less than 20 minutes after I post this, two delightful articles come to my attention. I’ve gotta share them with you.

10 Breathtaking Isolated Vocals

Sometimes, with all the actual music stripped away, you understand why the vocals have been buried by bells, whistles and effects but equally there are moments when what remains is fresh, fascinating and a breathtaking world away from what we thought we knew. Here are ten naked vocals to illustrate the special alchemy each singer brings to the party.

The History of Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally’s Awesome Marriage
Sometimes there are celebrities who give off the vibe of being really awesome people. It might just be good PR, but this couple rocks it.

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IRL Things:

I (thoughtfully) spent my tax return on some fun things this week. Some spring wardrobe additions, a new camera lens (Sigma 50mm f/1.4), and a Casio keyboard.

I am an absolute music novice, but I’ve been thinking a lot about music creation lately (more on this later). So I’m starting from the beginning. So far I know about Forks and Chopsticks and how to play “You Are My Sunshine”. It’s gonna be a bit of a process. 

Meanwhile, in other concepts completely foreign to me… I start a 401k next month. What up, adulthood?

Ok. Onto the things I dig.

Currently Reading:

What We Talk About When We Talk About God
Rob Bell’s newest book. I’m really enjoying it. Honestly, the only other book of his I’ve finished is Sex God. All the others I read while attending Mars Hill during his time as teaching pastor. It was just kind of repetitive, “Yep. I get it. You said this last week.” It’s nice to read fresh content that he’s written free of pastoral constraints. 

Who Told You That You Were Naked?
I just picked this one up yesterday after watching a fantastic livestream discussion organized by Crunk Feminist Collective. The book is about reconciling theological and sexual ethics, specifically in the lives of black women.

There has been a lot of writing the past couple week around Steubenville, rape culture, etc. Here are a couple of my favorites.

5 Ways We Can Teach Men Not To Rape
Zerlina Maxwell went on Sean Hannity to debate the effectiveness of guns in rape-prevention. (Don’t even get me started.) She was then bombarded online with racially and sexually charged death threats and general vitriol. Regardless, she wrote this piece on Ebony. I would try to pull a quote, but it’s all great. Go read it in full.  

A Letter to My Sons About Stopping Rape
I love the way this is written. Been struck lately by how important it is to teach kids about bodily autonomy and respect from birth. 

Cabin-Time x Wilderness
Here’s a pretty thing for you. Cabin-Time is a roaming creative residency where some beautiful things are created. My friend Carson created this gorgeous video during their last session. 

Tongue Tied - Tina and the Total Babes
Been trying to force Spring into being by listening to as much upbeat rock’n’roll as possible. Cheap Trick, The Detroit Cobras, The Ramones, etc. This particular hook has been in my head all week. One of those crank-it-and-dance jams. 

And finally, Jean Claude VanDamme smelling some chocolate. Happy Friday!

It’s International Women’s Day! And also Friday. Here are some bad-ass ladies rocking the mic to kick your weekend off right.

WHO RUN THE WORLD?

1. Run the World - Beyonce
2. Bad Girls - M.I.A.
3. Rebel Girl - Bikini Kill
4. Love is All Around - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
5. Crown on the Ground - Sleigh Bells
6. None of Your Business - Salt-n-Pepa
7. Laisse Tomber les Filles - April March
8. 3 Small Words - Josie and the Pussycats 
9. Heartbreaker - Pat Benatar
10. Glycerine Queen - Suzi Quatro
11. If Looks Could Kill - Heart
12. Hard Headed Woman - Wanda Jackson
13. If I Could Turn Back Time - Cher
14. Girls Like Me - Bonnie Hayes with The Wild Combo
15. The Warrior - Scandal
16. Just a Girl - No Doubt
17. Independent Woman - Destiny’s Child 

[playlist photo from Switchblade Sisters.]

Amanda Marcotte at Slate responds to The Guardian’s Ellie Mae O’Hagan.

I want to mash these two articles together with a big ol’ “WE NEED EVERYTHING!” scrawled across the top. They’re both right. Even though they’re arguing.

I understand O’Hagan’s concerns. She sees humor and sexiness as distractions from the larger picture, but Marcotte argues that they can be incredibly subversive and effective. Personally, I fall into Marcotte’s line of thinking, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need varying voices, or challenges to shift our perspective. 

For me, anger is the fuel, a desire for change. But it’s not an effective universal method. Especially on an every day personal level. This sarcasm and brevity is a huge part of what drew me into the movement in the first place.  

Marcotte argues,

In my experience, if you really want to piss people off, be sexy and funny while you’re being angry.”

I could not survive being a part of any sort of activism without humor. I already get burned out on a regular basis. I hit that point where I can’t take it anymore. I’m too frustrated, too sad, too small. I step back, I paint my toenails, I watch a little Parks a Rec, and my faith in humanity is restored. 

It’s equal parts a survival mechanism and a cultural subversion. As Marcotte says,

Humor, fun, and yes, sexiness are ways to make yourself feel valued and happy in a sexist society that frequently tells women they deserve neither.”

Again, these things are difficult to unpack, especially sexuality. The line between empowerment and exploitation is always a debate. But ultimately, it’s about choice and balance. It always is. Freedom to be sexy, or not. Funny, or not. Without being told it’s what you’re supposed to be. We gotta keep working to create space for all. 

rookiemag:

fat-grrrl-activism:

“In 1921, early suffragettes often donned a bathing suit and ate pizza in large groups to annoy men…it was a custom at the time”

(via Cult of Aphrodite Vintaga)

PIZZA AND BATHING SUITS

-naomi

This is a thing I love to death. 

Take me to Suffragette City, please. 

It’s that time of year again, kids! Just a friendly reminder that The Oscars are not the end-all-be-all of good films, k? 

I joined in a great twitter discussion yesterday on the topic of Women at the Oscars hosted by Women’s Media Center, Bitch Flicks, and Melissa Silverstein from Indiewire. A great little roundup of the convo is here. (I’m the first tweet!)

This is just a tiny piece of the issue I’ve been wrestling with for well over a year now. Underrepresentation in media, not just for women, but for POC and LGBT populations as well (and all the places these intersect), is the #1 thing I find myself wanting to fight for. 

I’m not ready to dive into my manifesto yet, but here are a few bits to chew on since it’s Oscar season…

5 Female-Directed Films that Deserved Oscar Nominations

How Female Directors Could At Last Infiltrate Hollywood: Go Indie

2013 Oscar Week: Feminism, Gender Stats and the Bechdel Test in this Year’s Best Picture Nominees

Fun facts:

Women make up 51% of the US population and purchase 50% of movie tickets.

Only one woman (and only one person of color) have ever won the award for Best Director. 

Women directed 5% of the top grossing films of 2011.

But here’s the thing, having women in front of or behind the camera has no effect on box office gross. Only budget does.

(Stats from studies here

I think it’s easy for film-people to say, “The Oscars don’t even really matter. It’s all politics.” Well, that’s nice that you know that, but to most of our culture, that awards show IS film. This season is the time of the year when a lot of people make an effort to see “real film” in theaters. 

I’m not saying the films featured at the Oscars are bad, nor that the people who made them are not good filmmakers. (Although, do we really need to give Spielberg a nod every time he farts out an epic? Sorry, sorry. /snark.) But we NEED more representation in front of and behind the camera. Why? Why does this even matter? Why can’t we just see films as stories, no matter who is in them or making them?

Well that is a whole ‘nother enormous issue that I will write about at length later. 

[disclaimer]

It’s difficult for me to post about this topic without getting into paragraphs of personal experience and perspective shifting, which I don’t really want to do here, but there has been a heap of writing on this topic this week and it has my brain a-whirring.

Obviously, none of these writers or commenters hold my exact views, but here are some things to get your own brain a-whirring. 

Rachel Held-Evans posted this today: Do Christians Idolize Virginity? She pulls from a couple other authors examining the messages a huge amount of young women in evangelical circles are given. 

She quotes one author, Sarah, from I am Damaged Goods:

He passed around a cup of water and asked us all to spit into it. Some boys horked and honked their worst into that cup while everyone laughed. Then he held up that cup of cloudy saliva from the crowd and asked, ‘Who wants to drink this?!’

And every one in the crowd made barfing noises, no way, gross!

'This is what you are like if you have sex before marriage,' he said seriously, 'you are asking your future husband or wife to drink this cup.'”

Yep. That’s a thing. I don’t think I ever had this one, but I was definitely told that my virginity was like an apple (that shouldn’t be bitten), a rose (losing petals), and a piece of gum (to…be… chewed? I don’t know.)

No matter what that preacher said that day, no matter how many purity balls are thrown with sparkling upper-middle-class extravagance, no matter the purity rings and the purity pledges, no matter the judgemental Gospel-negating rhetoric used with the best of intentions, no matter the “how close is too close?” serious conversations of boundary-marking young Christians, no matter the circumstances of your story, you are not disqualified from life or from joy or from marriage or from your calling or from a healthy and wonderful lifetime of sex because you had – and, heaven forbid, enjoyed – sex before you were married.

Darling, young one burning with shame and hiding in the silence, listen now: Don’t believe that lie. You never were, you never will be, damaged goods

Both Rachel and Sarah’s posts have HUNDREDS of (surprisingly civil) comments. Lots of which speak to the dysfunction the rhetoric surrounding sex can lead to, even if you follow the rules. 

These were two of my favorite comments:

Stephanie said, “I think you have to shift the focus away from sex. That’s not what it’s really all about. You want your daughters to make wise choices in all aspects of their lives, including sex. Making it all about sex still gives girls the impression that their place in the world is defined by their relationship to a man.

Raise them to value themselves, to have goals and dreams, to have non-romantic personal relationships that are meaningful. Encourage them in their interests and talents. Give them a future to look forward to.

Would you rather your daughter have sex with a man who respects her and treats her well, or not have sex with a man who belittles and demeans her? It can’t be about the sex. It has to be about her value as a whole human being. If she believes in herself and has goals and dreams for her future, she will make wise choices in every aspect of her life.”

Devi said, “We do have to change the way we think and talk about sexuality, less about sex itself and more about sexuality. There is a whole lot more to sexuality than the act of physical intimacy between two people. Someone who is not having sex is just as sexual a being as someone who is.. Our sexuality needs to be treasured, nurtured and cared for and again this is not just related to the act of intimacy with another person.”

Libby Anne, one of my faves, posts about this topic on a constant basis. 

It also reminded me of a post by Jill at Feministing from a few months ago. She was speaking about culture in general, not specifically Evangelicals. Some scattered thoughts on sex 

Young women are taught that we are the holders of sex; we embody sex. We have The Sex, and men want The Sex (and yes this is all very heteronormative, but I’m talking about how many of us are culturally conditioned. LGBT kids are conditioned the same way, and then left out in the cold). But if we “give” The Sex under the wrong circumstances, then we are dirty / bad / slutty. But men respond well when we give The Sex, or exhibit some hint that we might give The Sex. So much of our relationship to our own sexuality revolves around how men are perceiving us, and how we walk this line between being alluring but not slutty to men.”

The abstinence message isn’t, “Healthy sexual expression includes establishing boundaries, and you are entitled to your own boundaries, whatever those may be, so it’s totally ok to say no under any circumstances.” The abstinence message is, “As the female, it is your obligation to put the breaks on sex, and so you should say no because that is your job, and not saying no will make you dirty.”

Holy cow! Right?

There is so much damage here, to both men and women and their views of the other. So much fear and shame and guilt. I mean, I get it, it’s a charged thing. But man, we gotta try harder, folks. 

I do want give a quick shout out to my parents. I do not include them in this dysfunction. I am so thankful for them and the positive messages they gave me about myself and the ones they tried to give me about sex, when I wasn’t crying or plugging my ears because I was so embarrassed. Sorry, guys.  

UPDATE!

Emily knocked it out of the park with this one. The Day I Turned in My V-Card. She frames sexuality really well as another factor of a human being, not this completely separate thing. 

I have not always handled my sexuality well, in the same way that I have not always handled my words, my appetites, my privilege or my finances well.

But instead of an all or nothing approach, instead of reducing the scope of human sexuality to one specific act and stamping that act with a no until marriage makes it a magical yes, I’m building a holistic sexual ethic. I’m learning to be aware of the difference between healthy interactions and harmful behavior patterns.”

"I’m in process, and I trust that you are too.

And please, whether you waited or you didn’t, stop telling me that it will be “worth the wait.”

That phrase denies that intimacy between two humans will always require effort. Relationship exists in continual practice and communion, it doesn’t simply happen without effort because of choices you’ve made long ago. Whether or not you’re a virgin at your wedding, you will still have unique sexual baggage to navigate, because you are a sexual being and you exist before marriage.”

[Wonder Woman #269, 1980 via kateordie]

This is me today. I’m just done. 

I woke up feeling anxious and self-deprecating (and also tired. oh, so tired). 

Then I found out that there is an actual book that exists called Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate, which, according to the synopsis seems to translate quite literally to, “Raising Misogynists”. And guess what? It’s a Christian author! Thanks for totally representing my faith in a positive way, dude! Thankfully, the cover art was enough to give me a small chuckle, but overall it gave me a feeling of helpless exasperation, “lolsob” if you will. Oh, but fear not, he also wrote a guide for “righteous and rowdy girls" complete with cover art in papyrus. via xojane

I know this is just a tiny tiny piece of a larger problem. I shouldn’t worry about this one author, and I should just let it go… but today. Today it got to me.

And THEN I read an update on this ludicrous Supreme Court proceeding in Connecticut (via lipstickfeminists). A non-verbal woman with severe cerebral palsy was deemed to have consented to sex because, “the defense argued that there was evidence the woman could communicate by biting, kicking, screaming, and gesturing.” What. the. everloving…..

So, I’m done. Clocked out. Can’t do it anymore today. Bye.

Friends!

The time is nigh. Halloween costume ideas are floating around everywhere. Some of you won’t get to work for another three weeks, some of you obsessors (like me) already have yours’ finished. 

So just a friendly reminder to check yourself as you’re coming up with ideas and be considerate of other cultures. 

This is a great campaign that a group at Ohio U put out last year. 

 

 

There are thousands, literally thousands of other things to dress up as for Halloween. Be creative! Have fun!