Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Would Your Vagina Say?

Not to sound crazy, but I’m addicted to The Vagina Monologues. I guess you could say I’m addicted to vaginas? I know, sounds crazy but it’s true. This past Sunday (Nov. 15) is the second time I’ve gone to see The Vagina Monologues. The first time I saw it was last year at USF. That’s when I fell in love with them. I was so moved by the stories these women acted out during the performance. I made a promise to myself that I would go and see the monologues whenever they were in town again and I would bring one of my girlfriends so they would be inspired like I was a year ago when one of my girlfriends dragged my unwilling self to the one at USF.
When you listen to these women talk about their vaginas, it makes you really think about yourself and yours. What would your vagina wear if it were to get dressed? What two words would it say if it could talk? Mine would wear leather and lace if it were to get dressed. If it could talk, I think the two words it would say are “get lost!” Mine is definitely angry. I agreed with what Meena Saxena was saying during her monologue about “My Angry Vagina.” Why do men have it so easy when it comes to their genitals and we have it so rough? Hello, super-sized flowery smelling tampons? A man had to invent that one!
The monologues are something I think men and women should attend if they have the chance. From a women’s point of view, I think we can all relate to what our vagina’s go through during the course of our lives. For a man, I think the monologues could help them to understand why they think we are so crazy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?

What do you want to do before you die? Good question, right? I can think of billion things I would do before I leave this place. So what got me thinking of this somewhat morbid topic? Facebook of all things.
A friend of, Janae (Thanks Janae!!) sent me the link on Facebook to become a fan of beforidieiwantto.org. Janae is cool people and she would never send me something I wouldn't want to be a part of so, I became a fan.
I went to the site and started reading about it. It was set up as kind of a saying "good-bye" to Polaroid film and to document what you would want to have accomplished before your death. It is a very moving site. The Hospice link got me the most. It has pictures of people who are terminal and they wrote on their picture what they wanted to do before they died. This really made me think...what do I want to do before I die?
I always said I would take my mom to Italy before she dies, but that just a great dream. I'm not saying I will never do it, but the only person the trip will make a difference to is my mom. What do I want to do before I die! The only real thing I'm good at is writing. My words are my most valuable and prized possession. I can use them to make a difference in someone's life. That is what I want to do before I die. Maybe I can get other people's words heard and between us we can make a difference before we die. What do you think?
P.S. If anyone has a Polaroid camera laying around with film in it, get in contact with me because I really want to be part of this project! Thanks!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Interesting Articles

My friend Brenda, or "Brendita" as I call her should really think about changing her major or minor to Women Studies like me because she is always finding article for me to read about women.
She had the TBT (a local daily paper) this morning and pointed out three articles to me. I read them and used them to post in the extra credit blog for my Women and Social Action class. I thought it would be a cool idea to post them in my blog as well to see what ya'll think!
The first one is about a white homecoming queen at an all black university. In this day and age with us having our first black president, I say why not? It's time for a change. Why she posted a letter to President Obama on her website is beyond me. Did she feel that she was being misunderstood? What would Obama do? Let me know what you think.
Tampa Bay Times 10/19/2009, Page T016
The fairest of them all

A non-black student is named queen at a historically black college in Virginia, setting off a debate.

By Jenna Johnson

Washington Post

Nikole Churchill, a tall, thin woman with long, dark hair, was named homecoming queen at historically black Hampton University last week.
The next day, she appeared with her court at the football game against Howard University, another historically black school.

All this would be unremarkable except that Churchill is the first homecoming queen at Hampton who is not black. That apparently did not sit well with a handful of people at the game, who heckled the senior nursing major.

This bit of unpleasantness, along with similar comments online, may have passed unnoticed except for what Churchill did next. She posted a public letter to President Obama on a Web site asking him to visit the campus and help with her predicament.

“I feel as though you could relate to my situation,” wrote Churchill, 22, who grew up in Hawaii and performed a hula as her beauty-pageant talent. “I am hoping that perhaps you would be able to make an appearance to my campus, Hampton University, so that my fellow Hamptonians can stop foc using so much on the color of my skin and doubting my abilities to represent” the school.

Obama hasn’ t responded, but the Virginia school, established in 1868 to educate freed slaves, has become embroiled in a discussion about race, the role of historically black colleges, and alternatives to mainstream definitions of beauty.

Even those who had supported C hurchill when she was crowned were angered and confused by her letter to Obama. Student body president Matthew Washington, 20, said he wishes she had let him know about her concerns before writing the president.

“There are always color issues: The light-skin, dark-skin thing. The long-hair, short-hair issue. But to issue a blanket statement like that?” said Washington, a senior economics major from Los Angeles. “It just really put the university in a negative light.”

The comparisons Churchill made between herself and Obama also angered some students: “We all had to go through a lot more racial intolerance than what she had to in a pageant,” said Brittany Riddock, 19, a sophomore public relations major from Atlanta. “There is no comparison at all between a black man becoming president and a white woman winning a beauty pageant at a black school.”

Last Monday, Churchill found herself standing alone at the front of the student center theater, looking out at dozens of Hampton students who wanted to vent their frustrations and hear her explanation for the letter. This was her first introduction to many of the student leaders there. Churchill attends Hampton’s satellite campus in Virginia Beach, a handful of classrooms on the 10 th floor of a high-rise, where about 90 students study nursing and hotel management or take education-certification classes. Churchill, who has a white mother and an Asian father, explained how she was hurt by the comments hurled anonymously online and personally at the game, and that she couldn’ t believe she was being judged by the color of her skin, according to several students who were at the meeting . She told them she thought that reaching out to Obama would help the situation.

The debate encapsulates some of the changes sweeping across the campuses of historically black colleges. These schools still produce a disproportionate number of black college graduates, and they retain their social missions to bring higher education to poor students and those from deprived backgrounds. But they have been changing in ways that often carr y a heavy symbolic weight: for instance, when Grambling fielded its first white quarterback, and that about half of Southern University Law Center graduates are white.

When the Hampton beauty pageant began on that Friday night, the 10 contestants came swirling onto the wooden stage at Ogden Hall in black leotards, flowing skirts and coin-covered scar ves, performing an Arabianthemed dance for the crowd of several hundred people.

T he contestants took turns modeling swimsuits and ball gowns. T hey answered questions and explained their platforms. When the talent portion arrived, Churchill, dressed in a hot-pink and white swimsuit, a skirt and thick necklaces made from yards of tiny white shells, performed a traditional hula.

As the two-hour pageant neared its conclusion, the women lined up under the stage lights to learn the verdict of the five judges.

“It was obvious who was going to win” after the first runner-up was announced because the two women stood out, said Lapraya McCoy, 21, editor in chief of the weekly student newspaper, the Hampton Script .
“But it was kind of like there was this pause before everyone applauded. Everybody was just stuck, surprised this had actually happened.”

That night, Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with the news. Some said she represented a step for ward for the school. Several questioned why students don’ t vote for the homecoming queen. Others argued that Churchill didn’t represent a typical Hampton student, not just because of her race but also because she doesn’t attend classes on the main campus.

“She doesn’t have the same experiences as we have,” said Arianna Griffin, 18, a sophomore political science major from Seattle. “She didn’t get a big brother or big sister her freshman year. … She doesn’t live in the dorms.”

“There were a lot of people who asked, ‘What message are you sending by picking her?’ ” said McCoy. “There are different reasons I think people decide to attend (historically black colleges and universities). They know who goes here. They thought that was the playing field.”

Homecoming festivities begin tonight with a car show and a “Hampton Idol” singing competition. Then, a fashion show, step show, gospel concert, pep rally and parade. Miss Hampton University will be officially crowned the Homecoming Queen on Wednesday night. A concert Thursday night will feature Fabolous, LeToya Luckett, formerly of Destiny’s Child, and rapper Jeremih. The homecoming football game Saturday is against South Carolina State.

Churchill has told organizers she plans to be at as many events as possible so she can meet the students she now represents.
The next one is about boys getting the HPV vacination. This one is for my good friend, Mrs. Jones. Hey Mrs., remember the heated discussion about Viagra and birth control pills a few months back infront of Tampa Theater? I can't wait to hear what you have to say about this one!

Tampa Bay Times 10/19/2009, Page T023
On HPV, boys get off easy Sex involves two people, so why is it only girls are vaccinated?By William Saletan Slate.com Should boys be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus?You’ve probably heard about girls being vaccinated everywhere for HPV. The virus has been implicated in cer­vical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers. But it can also cause diseases that affect men and boys: oral, anal, and throat cancers, not to mention genital warts and juvenile onset rec urrent respira­tor y papillomatosis, an infant respira­tor y condition that may result from maternal HPV infection.“Recent data on the use of the HPV vaccine in males suggest high efficacy against vaccine type infections and externa l genital lesions,” says a study published two weeks ago in the Brit­ish Medical Journal. So, should boys be vaccinated? No, say the authors. “Our results suggest that if vaccine coverage and efficacy are high among preadolescent girls (12 years), then including boys in an H PV vaccination programme is unlikely to provide good value for resources compared with vaccinating girls only. … [O]ur analysis favours HPV vac­cination of preadolescent girls (with continued screening in adulthood) as a valuable inter vention for its cost. … Including boys in the vaccination pro­gramme, however, generally exceeded conventional thresholds of good value for money.”Why vaccinate girls but not boys? T he authors cite several factors. First, HPV is more likely to harm girls. Sec­ond, the vaccine is more effective in girls. Third, the rate of viral transmis­sion depends on the virus’ prevalence “in th e opposite sex at any given time.” If girls are routinely vaccinated, there’s nothing for boys to catch or transmit.In other words, boys don’t have to get vaccinated for the same reason they don’t have to wash dishes, do laundry, buy birth control, or think about other people in general: Girls will do it for them.Why do HPV vaccines work be tter in girls than in boys? Because they were designed for and tested in girls. It’s true that HPV affects girls more than boys, but the same can be said of pregnancy. There’s still a male in the equation somewhere. Boys certainly share the pleasure. Why not share the responsibility? And what about that infant respiratory condition? Shouldn’t men do their part to pre­vent it?If you want to see a world where men wash dishes and do laundry, it isn’t hard to find. It’s a world where men live, have sex, and share house­hold responsibilities with other men. They don’t have wives or girlf riends to think about and take care of ev­er ything for them. They have to do it themselves.T he same is true of protection from sexually transmitted viruses. The au­thors of the British Medical Journal paper concede that they “only repre­sented heterosexual partnerships and therefore did not reflect HPV trans­mission among men who have sex with men, who face a high risk of anal cancer and may realise a greater ben­efit from HPV vaccination.”But the argument for vaccinating gay men isn’t just that they might ben­efit. It’s that vaccinating women won’t help them. They can’t count on some­body else to take care of the problem.What would happen to straight men if women weren’ t vaccinated? T he authors played out that scenario in their mathematical models. “If cov­erage in girls ends up being low, then vaccinating boy s became much more attractive,” the lead author concedes.Maybe routine vaccination of both sexes is overkill. But in that case, per­haps we should ask why the par tner who takes care of the birth control should ge t the vaccination, too.
This last one was just because it inspired me. God, if only I had this much determination as this 16-year-old does when I was her age, where would I be now at age 37? Madame President?

Tampa Bay Times 10/19/2009, Page T017
A 16-year-old Australian steered her bright pink yacht out of Sydney Harbor on Sunday to start her bid to become the youngest person to sail unassisted around the world. Jessica Watson’s plan to make a 23,600-mile journey through some of the world’s most treacherous waters has sparked a debate about whether someone so young should be allowed to try such a dangerous feat. Watson and her family insist she is an experienced and capable sailor, and say she will be in constant contact with her support team via radio, e-mail and a blog (jessicawatson.com.au). The first leg of Watson’s eight-month journey will take her 34-foot yacht past northern New Zealand, then Fiji and Samoa.Briton Mike Perham, 17, in August laid claim to being the youngest solo round-the-world sailor after completing the trip in nine months , though he stopped for repairs, which counts as an “assisted” trip. “Without assistance” means a vessel may not receive any kind of outside help. A craft may be anchored or beached during the attempt, but any repairs must be made without outside resources or help.

These articles are just something that made me think on this cool Monday morning. I really should be reading my Women and Social Action assignment for this week! Let me know what you think!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

Would a real man walk a mile in women’s 3-inch stiletto shoes? From what I saw on Thursday, October 8, 2009 over 600 men and women, along with our school’s mascot “Rocky the Bull,” walked a mile in high heeled shoes of all types to raise sexual violence awareness. The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event is in its second year at USF and it was hosted by student groups, N.I.T.E. (Necessary Improvements to Transform our Environment) and R.E.A.L. (Relationship Equality and Anti-violence League) along with The Advocacy Program. During the event, participants are asked to walk one mile on the campus in women’s high heeled shoes. All participating men are asked to sign a R.E.A.L. man pact, in which they vow to address sexual violence issues with others, obtain consent for all sexual activities and denounce sexist and dehumanizing jokes.

The event was kicked off with a great opening statement from Eileen Dabrowski, president of N.I.T.E. in which she said, “This important event is inspired by the well-known phrase that you can’t truly understand the experience of others until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”Each year, nearly 31 percent of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. A woman is raped every 90 seconds in the U.S. 13 percent of college women indicated that they have been forced to have sex in a dating situation. With statics like these, I think more men should walk a mile in our shoes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Technology Amazes Me

I'm amazed more and more everyday by Facebook and Twitter. People I haven't talked to in a billion years have found me on Facebook. People from my childhood who I thought were bullies have now grown up and turned into really nice people that I'm honored to call friend. I've also made some really cool new friends that invite me to all kinds of events. Thank you Sir Rebel Films and David Burton for the invite to the film screening!

Not all of us may want to re-connect with people from our past or accept the friend request from the creepy guy taking bathroom pictures of himself and using them as his profile picture. But there is always one person you wonder about and if they are on Facebook. "Whatever happen to such and such?" How do you find them? Did their name change? Are they looking for you as well?

That person was your friend at a time in your life when you were just starting to become the person you are today. They liked the same music and films as you. They knew what you were thinking at any given moment and could finish your sentences. You may have even dressed the same and swore you would be best friends forever!

But things change, you move away, get married and start a family. That person who knew you so well is always in the back or your mind. Then they find you on Facebook!

When you accept your old friend as a new friend on Facebook, the technological flood gates open wide! You start chatting, sending photos, videos, etc. You wind up being online for hours. The two of you cover decades in those hours. Isn't technology great?

You also find out that the two of you still have a lot of the interests you had when you were younger and that your friendship has withstood test of technology and time. You're glad you accepted your new friend request from your old friend and not the creepy guy in his bathroom!