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Oct 2011 28

by Blogbot

This Sunday our very special guests will be Love Junkie author Rachel Resnick, dating expert Marni Kinrys (of the Wing Girl Method), and SG’s Red, White and Femme post-feminist sex & sexuality columnist Darrah de jour. They’ll be chatting with hosts Nicole Powers (SG’s Managing Editor) and Lacey Conner (our resident recovering reality TV star from VH1’s Rock of Love and Charm School) about the issues surrounding sex and love addiction. When is a healthy sex life beyond healthy? Are hopeless romantics really hopelessly deluding themselves? Is sex and love addiction really a disease? Can it be cured? If so, how? And can we all learn healthier dating habits by understanding the issues raised by sex and love addiction?

Tune in to the world’s leading naked radio show for two hours of totally awesome tunes and extreme conversation – and don’t let yo momma listen in!

Listen to SG Radio live Sunday night from 10 PM til Midnight on Indie1031.com

Got questions? Then dial our studio hotline digits this Sunday between 10 PM and midnight PST: 323-900-6012

And cyberstalk us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Oct 2011 21

by Yashar Ali

You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!
Sound familiar?

If you’re a woman, it probably does.

Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

When someone says these things to you, it’s not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling — that’s inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation — pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It’s patently false and unfair.

I think it’s time to separate inconsiderate behavior from emotional manipulation and we need to use a word not found in our normal vocabulary.

I want to introduce a helpful term to identify these reactions: gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a term, often used by mental health professionals (I am not one), to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy.

The term comes from the 1944 MGM film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman. Bergman’s husband in the film, played by Charles Boyer, wants to get his hands on her jewelry. He realizes he can accomplish this by having her certified as insane and hauled off to a mental institution. To pull of this task, he intentionally sets the gaslights in their home to flicker off and on, and every time Bergman’s character reacts to it, he tells her she’s just seeing things. In this setting, a gaslighter is someone who presents false information to alter the victim’s perception of him or herself.

Today, when the term is referenced, it’s usually because the perpetrator says things like, “You’re so stupid” or “No one will ever want you,” to the victim. This is an intentional, pre-meditated form of gaslighting, much like the actions of Charles Boyer’s character in Gaslight, where he strategically plots to confuse Ingrid Bergman’s character into believing herself unhinged.

The form of gaslighting I’m addressing is not always pre-mediated or intentional, which makes it worse, because it means all of us, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another.

Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction — whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness — in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren’t rational or normal.

My friend Anna (all names changed to protect privacy) is married to a man who feels it necessary to make random and unprompted comments about her weight. Whenever she gets upset or frustrated with his insensitive comments, he responds in the same, defeating way, “You’re so sensitive. I’m just joking.”

My friend Abbie works for a man who finds a way, almost daily, to unnecessarily shoot down her performance and her work product. Comments like, “Can’t you do something right?” or “Why did I hire you?” are regular occurrences for her. Her boss has no problem firing people (he does it regularly), so you wouldn’t know that based on these comments, Abbie has worked for him for six years. But every time she stands up for herself and says, “It doesn’t help me when you say these things,” she gets the same reaction: “Relax; you’re overreacting.”

Abbie thinks her boss is just being a jerk in these moments, but the truth is, he is making those comments to manipulate her into thinking her reactions are out of whack. And it’s exactly that kind manipulation that has left her feeling guilty about being sensitive, and as a result, she has not left her job.

But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, “You’re so sensitive,” to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, the speaker is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.

While dealing with gaslighting isn’t a universal truth for women, we all certainly know plenty of women who encounter it at work, home, or in personal relationships.

And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.

Why?

Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.

It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.

Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: it renders some women emotionally mute.

These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”

That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking.

No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.

They say, “I’m sorry,” before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings.

You know how it looks: “You’re late :)”

These are the same women who stay in relationships they don’t belong in, who don’t follow their dreams, who withdraw from the kind of life they want to live.

Since I have embarked on this feminist self-exploration in my life and in the lives of the women I know, this concept of women as “crazy” has really emerged as a major issue in society at large and an equally major frustration for the women in my life, in general.

From the way women are portrayed on reality shows, to how we condition boys and girls to see women, we have come to accept the idea that women are unbalanced, irrational individuals, especially in times of anger and frustration.

Just the other day, on a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a flight attendant who had come to recognize me from my many trips asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that I write mainly about women, she immediately laughed and asked, “Oh, about how crazy we are?”

Her gut reaction to my work made me really depressed. While she made her response in jest, her question nonetheless makes visible a pattern of sexist commentary that travels through all facets of society on how men view women, which also greatly impacts how women may view themselves.

As far as I am concerned, the epidemic of gaslighting is part of the struggle against the obstacles of inequality that women constantly face. Acts of gaslighting steal their most powerful tool: their voice. This is something we do to women every day, in many different ways.

I don’t think this idea that women are “crazy,” is based in some sort of massive conspiracy. Rather, I believe it’s connected to the slow and steady drumbeat of women being undermined and dismissed, on a daily basis. And gaslighting is one of many reasons why we are dealing with this public construction of women as “crazy.”

I recognize that I’ve been guilty of gaslighting my women friends in the past (but never my male friends — surprise, surprise). It’s shameful, but I’m glad I realized that I did it on occasion and put a stop to it.

While I take total responsibility for my actions, I do believe that I, along with many men, am a byproduct of our conditioning. It’s about the general insight our conditioning gives us into admitting fault and exposing any emotion.

When we are discouraged in our youth and early adulthood from expressing emotion, it causes many of us to remain steadfast in our refusal to express regret when we see someone in pain from our actions.

When I was writing this piece, I was reminded of one of my favorite Gloria Steinem quotes, “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”

So for many of us, it’s first about unlearning how to flicker those gaslights and learning how to acknowledge and understand the feelings, opinions, and positions of the women in our lives.

But isn’t the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women’s opinions don’t hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn’t quite as legitimate?

***

Yashar Ali is a Los Angeles-based columnist, commentator, and political veteran whose writings about women, gender inequality, political heroism, and society are showcased on his website, The Current Conscience. Please follow him on Twitter and join him on Facebook.

He will be soon releasing our first short e-book, entitled, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not Crazy — How We Teach Men That Women Are Crazy and How We Convince Women To Ignore Their Instincts.

If you are interested and want to be notified when the book is released, please click here to sign-up.

Related Posts:
He Doesn’t Deserve Your Validation: Putting The Fake Orgasm Out of Business

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Oct 2011 21

by Blogbot

Let’s talks about sex, sexuality, and sexism this Sunday (Oct 23rd). SG Radio hosts Nicole Powers (SG’s Managing Editor) and recovering reality TV star Lacey Conner (Rock of Love and Charm School) will be joined in-studio by the always charming actor, musician and poet Michael Des Barres, gender writer and commentator Yashar Ali, and SG’s Red, White and Femme columnist Darrah de jour.

Tune in to the world’s leading naked radio show for two hours of totally awesome tunes and extreme conversation – and don’t let yo momma listen in!

Listen to SG Radio live Sunday night from 10 PM til Midnight on Indie1031.com

Got questions? Then dial our studio hotline digits this Sunday between 10 PM and midnight PST: 323-900-6012

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

[..]

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Oct 2011 14

by Yashar Ali


[Ajilee in How To Fake An Orgasm]

It’s great to be a man in our society, the perks seem to be endless. Everything is built with the intention of accommodating our needs. It’s fantastic, really. We men are constantly validated.

And the bedroom is one place where we receive consistent validation. I’m talking about women faking orgasms and giving us the sense that we’re the greatest lovers that have ever lived.

What a terrific arrangement for men. We get all the sexual pleasure and the feeling that we have satisfied the woman we’re sleeping with, without actually having done so.

A woman faking an orgasm is now sort of, just part of the deal, isn’t it? You just do it; it’s almost like something that’s passed down from generation to generation, like makeup tips or a recipe. It’s a gift women give to men, because it’ll just keep him satisfied and calm.

I couldn’t disagree more.
I think it’s a major offense to women and their sexual selves. And it shouldn’t be casual water cooler conversation nor should it be reserved for women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan.

The fake orgasm should be examined as a systemic problem in our society.

A Temple University study, featured in the CBS News column, “Study: Most Women Fake Orgasms — But Why?” shows around 60 percent of women have faked an orgasm.

This all comes down to conditioning. From a very early age, women are taught to satisfy the fiery male ego. The fake orgasm is just another moment in which a woman sacrifices for a man without receiving anything in return and worse, it leaves them feeling sexually unfulfilled.

Today, when we see the female orgasm covered in the mainstream, it’s dealt with in a comedic way. We see Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally screaming at the top of her lungs (in a diner) or we see an Herbal Essences commercial with a woman having a massive orgasm over fabulous shampoo. We find the sound of a woman faking an orgasm to be funny.

It’s not. It’s the sound of an unsatisfied woman working to satisfy the already exploding male ego.

We don’t talk publicly about the orgasm gap in the mainstream — but that doesn’t surprise me. Our male-dominated society would never want to expose the fact that women are faking orgasms en masse, and that men really aren’t satisfying women in droves.

However, the numbers reveal something more clarifying. According to the ABC News article, “Female Orgasm May Be Tied to ‘Rule of Thumb,’” 15 percent of surveyed women have NEVER had an orgasm (I wonder if its much higher in reality). And the same surveys show that 75 percent of women don’t reach orgasm during intercourse — that’s right, gentleman.

So why do women fake it?

Two major reasons stick out as I spoke with many women over the past two months: feeding the male ego and time.

“It just makes him happy, it feels more complete,” said one friend.

“But does it leaving YOU feeling complete?” I asked.

“No, it leaves me feeling like I am just a tool for his orgasm.”

That comment reminded me of what my friend D’Andra’s grandmother used to tell her, “Sex is for men, sex is for their benefit.”

Imagine growing up with that ideology…

Many women fake their orgasms as a means to end an un-pleasurable sexual process.

“I don’t have time. I can’t sit here while he plows away like a jack rabbit, it’s not fun for me when it’s like that.”

A woman writer I know mentioned that a man should never ask a woman if she fakes it.

I disagree. The male ego has been coddled for way too long. Enough is enough. We have to blow the cover off the secret world women are living; in this case, it’s a world where we get everything we want and they usually get nothing. And we teach women that it’s just the way things are and always have been.

This is how I see it: the fake orgasm is not compartmentalized from the rest of what women have to do. It sits at the core of a larger dismissal of a woman’s needs and desires, extrapolating across all parts of their lives, work, life, home. Women are not simply a tool for our sexual pleasure, they are ultimately a tool for making every part of our lives easier.

Many of the women I’ve talked with see faking an orgasm as a little gift, a favor for the man they’re with. That makes no sense to me. Faking an orgasm is not like making him a snack after he comes home from work or remembering what kind of beer he likes to drink.

It’s not that having an orgasm is critical during every sexual juncture; it’s that faking it takes women away from themselves. Faking it with any regularity generally leads to a path of a lifetime of sexual dissatisfaction, and dissatisfaction in general.

But too many women treat sex as an activity left in the bedroom — they see it as an isolated activity. I disagree. Sex is important and if the man displays a lack of care in the bedroom, is he thoughtful in other areas of a woman’s life?

We condition men to maintain women, to keep them satisfied on a periodic basis. We don’t condition them to think about their day-to-day needs — the same basic needs women think about with regard to the men in their life.

Most women have yet to discover their true sexual power — not power over others— but the power they can feel within themselves. So when men maintain women by doing a little here and there in the bedroom, and women fake it, it just leads to a diminishing of female power.

What I find to be remarkable is the lengths to which this culture will go to ensure men are sexually satisfied. We spend billions of dollars to produce drugs, like Viagra and Cialis, for erectile dysfunction, providing seventy-year-old men with the possibility of a thirty-six hour erection. But discussion about the millions of women who don’t have orgasms or are sexually dissatisfied is shoved into the fringes.

Most of the women I spoke to saw porn, and the men who watch it regularly, as a root cause for this need to fake orgasms. For the record, I don’t fundamentally see a problem with porn. Rather, my issue is with the kind of porn that is defined as mainstream and is made specifically for men. An entire generation of porn watching men (thanks to the internet), now have this idea that women climax by instantly screaming at the top of their lungs as soon as they see a penis…give me a break.

My friend Nina Hartley, feminist, registered nurse, and porn icon, has a take on porn that may come as unexpected, given her vocation, “Well, if any person is watching porn to get an idea of how actual people have sex, then they need their heads examined. Porn is FANTASY, like a live-action cartoon, and shouldn’t be taken seriously as sex ed.”

But there seems to be a bigger issue here: how our society sees women and their needs.

“Women are so complicated,” one of my guy friends said, when I asked him about women’s sexual needs.

No, actually they’re not. While certain women may need more concentration, effort, or focus to reach orgasm, I don’t think that makes them complicated.

We persist in this illusion that women are sexually and emotional complicated so we don’t have to show them the care and affection they need. We can put it on them. It’s really easy to say, “Oh, she’s so complicated,” as if a woman is a labyrinth that only three men in the world can solve.

As a result, we can justify why we don’t or can’t give her what she needs, because it’s just too hard to figure her out.

There’s a pretty simple formula here: women want what we men want.

Don’t be a jerk. Ask her what she wants, and when she tells you, see it as a fantastic opportunity to please her. Don’t think it’s a personal assault on your manhood. Basically, do what she does for you.

For most men, sex is carnal; it’s about the raw pleasure. But for too many women, sex is often a cerebral process. One in which they have to think and plan when to fake an orgasm, when to make everything perfect for the man in their lives. They are pleasing our massive egos, instead of pleasing themselves.

I’m tired of the fake orgasm being treated by women’s magazines like the newest lipstick color or the season’s best handbag. We treat a woman faking an orgasm so casually. It is a BIG deal. It should no longer be seen as an act of convenience or consideration, but rather, an act of submission: submission to the male ego and submission to our screwed up rules about women and sexuality. We condition and encourage women to submit across the board, and in the case of sex, it is the most fundamental part of a woman’s identity, whether they know it or not. And by her sexual identity, I am not necessarily saying that it’s about sex with others, I am referring to her sexual self.

So how does this all boil down in terms of the role men have to play? I think in terms of our perception of sex, women see it as an experience and men are conditioned to see it as a performance. We see it as a one-man performance, one in which we are the star, the director, the producer — it’s how we condition men to exist in life with respect to the way in which they relate to women.

It’s like the Wizard of Oz. On the surface, you see a lot pomp and circumstance, but if you peek behind the curtain, there’s a scared little man who has not only been taught to focus on himself, but has also been taught that focusing and pleasing a woman, on her terms, is an act of submission and weakness.

I try to avoid being and sounding prescriptive in my writing, but in this case I am begging women to put the fake orgasm out of business. Men don’t need or deserve more validation — we get it every day, in many different ways.

It’s time for women to seek the sexual (and all other types of) pleasure that has been, for too long, absent or lost in their lives.

And it’s time for men to stop automatically assuming that they are fantastic in bed.

Frankly, it’s time for men to assume we aren’t that great in bed, until we are told otherwise…and not by a fake orgasm.

***

Yashar Ali is a Los Angeles-based columnist, commentator, and political veteran whose writings about women, gender inequality, political heroism, and society are showcased on his website, The Current Conscience. Please follow him on Twitter and join him on Facebook.

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Sep 2011 08

by Darrah de jour


[ Bully, Sunshine and Meow in Schooled]

When I was in eighth grade, after two years of scratching, clawing, whining and whimpering outside the door of the popular girls, I was finally let in. I scored a cute boyfriend, who, without coincidence, was my BFF Paula’s* boyfriend’s best friend. Paula (a Queen Bee) was a transplant from a nearby school and was part Filipino with gorgeous thick black hair, thick black eyebrows, tan skin and a smattering of freckles on her nose. She wasn’t particularly thin and this made me happy. I was happy because I was 13 and absolutely obsessed with my weight. Plus, if she was super-popular and not super-skinny, then maybe I could be too!

I was dreadfully insecure, and covered this up by being overly-nice, pleasing everybody within a four mile radius, not doing things my popular friends told me not to, and doing pretty much anything they approved of. This included wearing overalls with one suspender hanging down, walking during P.E. instead of running, even though I was a great runner (thus, getting a B instead of an A), ditching class and going to the mall to occasionally shoplift nail polish and other assorted sundries, and talking back to my parents about curfew.

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Jul 2011 27

by Blogbot

A column which highlights Suicide Girls and their fave groups.


[Otok in d20]

This week, Otok Suicide takes a powerful stance on the Feminist Group.

Members: 956 / Comments: 22,381

  • WHY DO YOU LOVE IT?: It’s chock full of news and resources that I never would have known about otherwise. Best recent discovery? The incident which led to the creation of the SlutWalk. How fucking cool is that? Also, Morgan (the group owner and moderator) is fair when dealing with problem posters. She gives everyone a chance, but doesn’t hesitate to boot them if they’re trolls. That keeps the headdesk-inducing threads to a minimum.

  • DISCUSSION TIP: You have the right to your opinion, and everyone else has the right to respond to it, even if it’s to disagree.


  • BEST RANDOM QUOTE: “I hope he steps on a lego.

“

  • MOST HEATED DISCUSSION THREAD: A lot of the threads get passionate, but I think the most consistently active one is the Rantspace rant thread. Not only is it eye-opening, but it’s like a support group within the group. I find it very cathartic to both read and post in that thread.
  • WHO’S WELCOME TO JOIN?: Anyone interested in learning about promoting equality of any sort, not just gender-equality.




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