Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Since When Did We Start Cutting Vaginas?!

This year has been the year for the positive body image revolution. It all started with people finally realizing that what we see in mainstream media isn't real. Dove started the 2004 campaign for "Real Beauty" showcasing fuller and curvier women than what the fashion industry currently displays. Ten years later we have videos and news outlets showing outrage on before and after Photoshop-ed models and Meghan Trainor's song "All About That Bass". Shaking your ass has been around forever but then when Miley Cyrus's viral video twerking gained momentum early last year it's like everyone went mad and now I can't scroll through my FB feed without finding a twerking vine.

What's happening? Well like I explained in my post about Porn Addiction: Name Your Addiction, our brains get altered and our expectations get altered. In my most favorite sociology class Deviant Behavior I learned about how norms/taboos get formed and followed throughout a society within different cultures. We're all looking around at each other's physical expressions and behaviors and deeming what's normal and abnormal. Consumer economy driven by media outlets will cause people to grow dissatisfied with all areas of their lives and strive for the unattainable: perfection.

People are all too willing to go under the knife. Cosmetic surgery has always been on the rise, but currently trending now and very high on the rise, is the Labiaplasty. I'm rarely shocked by anything, but this is too disturbingly crazy. A little hypocritical if you ask me, because we call it female genital mutilation when tribes in Africa have a similar practice for different reasons. Is nothing sacred?

"A 2008 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that 32 per cent of women who underwent the procedure did so to correct a functional impairment; 31 per cent to correct a functional impairment and for aesthetic reasons; and 37 per cent for aesthetic reasons aloneAccording to a 2011 review, also in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, overall patient satisfaction is in the 90–95 percent range. Risks include permanent scarring, infections, bleeding, irritation, and nerve damage leading to increased or decreased sensitivity. The Observer wrote in 2011 that medical experts had "sounded the alarm" about the procedure and its soaring rates, blaming increased exposure to pornography images on the Internet. Linda Cardozo, a gynaecologist at King's College Hospital, London, told the newspaper that women were placing themselves at risk in an industry that is largely unregulated. "
This past year alone it was published that: "While the figures for labiaplasty and buttock augmentation are significant, they represent a very small portion of cosmetic procedures overall. Nevertheless, with labiaplasty procedures increasing by 44% over the course of the year, and buttock augmentation procedures increasing by 58%, there is clearly a definitive trend".

Well thanks to the internet and the age of information, we're also slowly waking up and people are doing great things to help raise awareness. Take this guy who built "The Great Wall of Vagina" for instance:

This project as well:

I have a very positive respect for my body but that didn't come until I gave birth to my kids. I still struggle with trying to lose weight, but I love every part of my body and wouldn't dream of changing it.  As always...sharing is sexy! Send this to your girlfriends, because we're all too self-conscious or scared to admit we wondered about normalcy "down there". 




Thursday, November 6, 2014

Topic of the Week:The Viral Catcalling Video

So last week there was this video of this woman walking through NYC for 10 hours and it showed her being "catcalled" over 100 times. I think it's time I finally addressed this topic and give my absolute honest female opinion on it. It's necessary at this point that I do.

If you didn't see the video, here it is...

My opinion on this: I personally like to wear sexy/fitted/tight/stylish/unique clothing. It's an expression of my personal style and tastes and represents who I am. (There's nothing wrong with what she's wearing based on today's norms, but does it show her physique? I think we can all agree that she does.) Do I like to show skin? Yes...sometimes and to a degree. Do I get catcalled or get treated a certain way when I do? Absolutely. Do I personally like it? Most of the times yes. It depends on what's being said, and of course because it's a form of flattery. Someone gives you a compliment/insult, your ego is stroked either way. Did I ask for it? Hell no, but whether I accept it, ignore it, or whatever, it doesn't matter. I'm married in a relationship for 14 years, with two young daughters of my own and I don't feel like it's harassment when it's done. A man appreciating what he sees and saying to me "wow, beautiful..., God bless you mami, or hey sexy have a nice day" is not derogatory. Men can appreciate beauty just as we can. There's nothing wrong with appreciating a beautiful woman and her body. If anything it's a compliment. Have some men ever treated me in a disgusting manner? Absolutely, I've been called bitch, slut, hoe, etc, for not responding to them and that's fine too, I don't let it bother me because this is America and I wouldn't want to have it any other way where our personal freedoms are being infringed on, such as the Freedom of Speech. If someone were to put their hands on me, or invade my personal space, or do the stalking thing where they follow you, however that's a separate issue that needs awareness and regulation. Otherwise I am free to keep dressing the way I like, and people should be free to catcall as they like. I found this woman who sums it up perfectly. Her video is Brilliant: 

It's common sense that if you dress a certain way you will be treated a certain way. This is a no-brainer. This is not to be confused with rape culture what-so-ever. A woman is not asking for rape by dressing a certain way. I just feel that I'm not a victim when I'm being catcalled. I lived in NYC my entire life up until I was 18 years old. When I was 12 my father died, and I started walking home and taking the bus that year. My body was mature, and I dressed provocatively during my teen years; tight fitted clothing, short tight mini skirts, black stockings and calf length boots, fitted tanks, blouses, and shorts during the summers. I was 12 yrs old being catcalled regularly well until I came to FL where walking through the streets was no longer a norm and the population density was no longer within the same dynamics. Sometimes it doesn't even matter what you wear, but you're more likely to illicit a response wearing fitted clothing. Sometimes or maybe all the time we really don't care to hear how men on the street feel. But this video below says a lot, because feminists would say this woman wearing the hijab is oppressed. I'm all for feminism, women should be treated fairly, with respect and equal freedoms as men. We all should wear what we're comfortable in, but like everything in life: For every action, there is a reaction. Just deal with it or change yourself before you try to change others.

Another issue about this video is that a lot of people would like to make this about race/ethnicity, but I'm here to say absolutely not. If you were raised by wolves you will act like a wolf. It's common sense that there's moral degradation in society. That's the bigger problem outside of this "catcalling/let's get the government involved box..." Where we were sociologically 50-100 years ago, is so different than today's streets, and values. People used to have respect, and women used to be treated with respect and have ample respect for themselves as well. Go back in history and look at how women were represented in the media, compared to the objectification now and you'll see the difference. Steve Santagati makes a very good point in the video below.
Regardless of how intelligent we think we are, its human nature at the core, an animal instinct to attract, court, and procreate. Do these guys go about it wrong? Of course they do. Can they help it? Of course, I'm not saying they're wild animals with no self control, I'm saying that men are known to be assertively bold visual creatures and this is a natural behavior that's been socialized based on culture/environment. It pertains to those who are "uneducated, unwilling to learn, and who have embraced the role of ignorance, poor social skills, and crude understanding of relationship dynamics"
Amanda Seales below is asking for utopia... something that will simply never exist. Sexual harassment is a very important issue that I support to be dealt with, however someone hollaring at you on the street is harmless. The minute it becomes an altercation is when the line is crossed and a crime has been committed. She makes a very weak point about the woman in Detroit getting killed over standing up for herself, because the proposed legislation to be passed isn't about violence, it's about the freedom of speech.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Are the Glory Days Over?

Happy November!!! Brrr.. it's cold out here in Orlando! Just a friendly reminder though, it's no-shave November men!!! That's right, I love me a husky beast. Okay, not the grizzly bear of men, but the beautifully crafted bearded men, with definition, with fierce manliness that can embody his face, upper body, and loins (no hairy backs, please and thanks!). If' you're not sure what's all the hairy posts are about click here. Let's not forget what it's about.

I'm happy to announce that I feel back to normal again, as I've had the most trying time in the last two months. That's what happens when you're such a Type A personality with never-ending expectations. The holidays are fast approaching, I had some much needed rest and a time out last week! I went with one of my besties to see the Enrique and Pitbull concert, had a date night with my man-candy, and celebrated Halloween with my kids. I even got into the Halloween spirit and dressed the part of Nicki Minaj. I actually had fun with it.

I used to believe that I was weak, and I can't handle life changes. Things are always changing, and I've been handling it the best I can.  I thought maybe something is wrong with me, it's always been a negative thing, people around me always saying "Stop being so sensitive... Why do you have to take everything so personally?... Why do you cry so easily?" etc. I actually just took this Highly Sensitive Test and found that I'm just super sensitive. I checked off 24/27 of the items listed and kinda feel relieved. It was like I was damned by a curse all this time. I think going-forward I can acknowledge this and take better care of myself after years of being treated like it was abnormal or wrong.

Being a highly sensitive person, I think  that when you spend a lot of time being stressed, worried, tired, and frustrated you lose sight of what happiness really is. We all thrive on routine. The extrovert in me loves spontaneity but I'm much better if I keep that for my impulse driven days.  I go back now and read my post last month; Happily Ever After? and think how different I feel right now. I often get conflicted between trying to be the good mother and wife and asking myself; "what does Michelle need right now?". It's easy to lose your enthusiasm, your drive, your ability to sustain a cheerful attitude and demeanor. While I was going through bouts of anger and losing my patience the girls were running around laughing, giggling, and generally having fun. I looked at them and thought, wow, what it must be like to be a child... care-free.

However this past week I was on cloud nine, back to my routine of singing and dancing. One day after school I was singing in the car as usual, but this time it was my daughter's favorite song and she stopped me to say "mom why are you singing?" I said "I like this song and I loved to sing since I was your age." She thought for a second and there it was..."but you're a grown-up now"....I said "well just because I'm a grown-up now, it doesn't mean I can't like the same things I did as when I was a kid". Some nerve of this kid... but was she right? Are the glory days over??

When I'm stuck in a rut for a while, and I finally make the effort to have fun, I feel myself come back.  It's always been that way. As a highly sensitive person, I'm in-tuned to what I'm feeling, and what I need to be re-centered and refocused. Most times, it's alone time, time to do my hobbies, a night out to the club, pure stupid senseless fun, a game, laughter, time to upkeep my beauty regimen, and time to unwind, a nap, soaking in the bathtub, or simply quiet time in the grocery store alone, a visit to the library, or time outside in nature. If you go through too much time not doing the things you need to re-balance your spirit you will burn out, and become depressed or have anxiety or simply become the thing you never wanted to be; The Complainer a.k.a.The Insatiable Bitch.
I end up feeling like a kid who was never ready to grow up a lot of times. That maybe this life isn't for me, I'm not ready for it. One friend said maybe I should've waited till I was older to start a family, and I always say NO, I would be feeling the same way ten years from now because it's true. I want my pie and to eat it too. I read this article and it finally dawned on me that I'm right where I'm supposed to be. There are 4 phases of a woman's life, and I encompass all four of them. That is how I'm able to function as a young, mature, but wise and sexual being.. This is a must read for women. Single, married, SAHM, working mom, all alike.  Please leave your comments on the article below. 

If you're a sensitive person or know one, these articles might be helpful:

Why Being Sensitive Could Be Your Greatest Gift

16 Habits Of Highly Sensitive People

10 Important Reasons to Start Making Time for Silence, Rest and Solitude

5 Reasons You Need to Play More

The Glory Days are far from over. Not if I have anything to do with it.