AlterNet.org: Toni Nagy http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/authors/toni-nagy en Why This Proud (Middle-Aged) Feminist Is Supporting Bernie Sanders http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/election-2016/why-proud-middle-aged-feminist-supporting-bernie-sanders <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1050322'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050322" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Electing Hillary Clinton just to prove to the world that we can have a woman president is just not that meaningful.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_342185018_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>I am a proud feminist. I celebrate the sacred feminine every full moon with a menses ritual. I say things like “smash the patriarchy” non-ironically at dinner parties. I named my dog after Simone De Beauvoir. But just because I’m a feminist, doesn’t mean I am going to blindly support Hillary Clinton for president. And apparently, I'm not alone. In the New Hampshire primary, Bernie won 55% of the overall female vote to Hillary's 44%, according to NBC.</p><p>I want to support Hillary. Oh goddess, do I want to. Sweet Mother Gaia, would that be divine. But as much as my uterus craves more women in positions of power, that doesn’t mean I can only think with my ovaries. </p><p>Hillary Clinton, Grandmother Moon bless her, is unfortunately a compromised individual. Anyone who wants to be president is. </p><p>Hillary has wanted to be president for a long time. At least eight years, but I think you and I both know this ambition dates longer than that. Maybe Hillary has wanted to be president for 20 years, or even 30. What that means is that much of her political policy has been dictated with this nagging concept in the back of her mind: How will this decision impact the possibility of me one day being elected president?</p><p>As a consequence, Hillary has been pandering to the center. She hasn’t been particularly progressive because she has been too calculated in her decision-making. If you look at her record she has promoted fracking, the Wall Street bail out, the invasion of Iraq, the Patriot Act, the death penalty, and the Defense of Marriage Act. She’s in bed with Monsanto, has a Wall Street-funded super PAC and is part of the 1%. She’s been playing the game of politics. </p><p>I am not sure I believe her choices are a reflection of her actual morality, but rather a desire to rise through the ranks of power. From a personal perspective I can say, you go girl, because she has become one of the most powerful women in the world. But that doesn’t mean I trust her. </p><p>Yes, Hillary has faced challenges her male counterparts have not. Yes, she has been criticized by the media, and the public, in ways that are exclusive to the fact that she has the wrong genitals. Yes, there is a vast discrepancy when it comes to men and women in politics. Yes to all that. Yes, that needs to change! </p><p>But if you look at Hillary’s political history, being a woman hasn’t hurt her. It’s helped her. Her status quo run-of-the-mill policies wouldn’t stand out if she were a man. The only reason a true leftist would even consider her as a candidate is because she is a woman. </p><p>I don’t blame Hillary for being strategic throughout her career. She had no other choice. I understand that completely. Yet I don’t think electing her just to prove to the world that we can have a woman president is that meaningful. It’s a superficial statement. It wouldn’t truly impact the role of woman in American society. It’s not like just because we have a black president suddenly racism disappeared. There have been rampant acts of racism since Obama has been elected. His election only brought racism to the forefront.</p><p>Sure, it’s great that kids can now see a black president, or little girls could experience a woman president. But figureheads and puppets don’t change the deep systemic racism and sexism that exist in the world. Obama or Hillary can’t solve these social issues because they had to sacrifice too much of their own political beliefs to get to the position they are in. Obama had to prove he wasn’t “too black” to be president, just like Hillary has to prove she isn’t “too feminine.” If we lived in a true democracy it would be possible to be an honest politician. But we don’t. We live in a corporatocracy. Therefore anyone who makes it up that ladder did so because of back-door deals to satisfy the agenda of big banks and big business. </p><p>That is why Plato fantasized about the idea of the philosopher king. In his worldview, the philosopher, the one who values questioning over personal power, is the only person fit to be king. They are the only ones who can’t be corrupted. Yet the issue is that no philosopher would ever want to be king. </p><p>Anyone who has the goal of being president of the United States of America has done some very dirty transactions to get to that position. <em>Everyone</em>. </p><p>So this brings us to Bernie Sanders. I’m not saying Bernie is perfect, or that I agree with everything that comes out of his mouth. But I’m pretty sure Bernie is just as surprised as everyone else by how close he is to being nominated. </p><p>Because Bernie hasn’t spent his entire political career with the goal to one day be president, he has spoken out in a much more progressive and potentially honest way. Bernie may not be the perfect candidate, but he has radically changed the conversation. He is a rebellion against Wall Street. He is the continuation of the Occupy movement. He’s trying to dismantle the very banking system that supports Hillary. He’s the only candidate that has the freedom to say, “the 1% are fucking us” because he is not in their back pocket. </p><p>Hillary’s campaign is supported by big donations from rich people. Bernie is being supported by small donations from people who are not rich. Bernie will inevitably have more political integrity because he is beholden to the people, not the corporations.</p><p>Of course, the Congress and Senate are going to cock-block anyone who tries to enact truly progressive political progress, but that is the direction our country needs to be heading. Not only socially, but environmentally and financially. The current corruption is too dangerous. Wall Street is too dangerous. The model of profit over people and the planet is killing us all. </p><p>So as much as my vagina wants a woman president, my brain wants someone who is more interested in challenging the system than catering to it.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2016 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1050322'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1050322" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0800 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1050322 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Election 2016 Election 2016 LGBTQ feminism hillary clinton bernie sanders Female Viagra? Great! But It Might Not Be What Women Really Need http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/female-viagra-great-it-might-not-be-what-women-really-need <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1041224'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1041224" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Can female sexual dysfunction be cured with a pill?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_147018071.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Get ready ladies: as of October 17, female Viagra will invade your pharmacy’s shelves. The FDA has approved a new drug, Addyi, which is manufactured by none other than Sprout pharmaceuticals. Isn’t that the cutest company name ever? Heart hands!</p><p>The invention of this drug is being treated as a feminist victory. The rhetoric is that men have many drug options when it comes to their boners, and we women have no lady boner drugs to take. Although on paper this seems like an injustice, in practice, it really isn’t. The claim of Addyi is that it addresses a loss of libido for women, and will actually increase their interest in sex. Currently, there is no drug on the market that is designed to address the sex drive of men.   </p><p>Drugs like Viagra weren’t created to address sexual desires inside a man’s brain. Viagra increases blood flow to the penis, and then said penis grows perpendicular. As a result of walking around with a hard-on, men usually come to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to stick their dick into someone. Viagra does not affect their emotional craving for sex, but rather suggests that the solid penis be pumped into a warm squishy place. The boner doesn’t make a man want to have sex more; he just sees it, and puts two and two together.</p><p>Perhaps women are slightly more nuanced with their sexuality? Call me old-fashioned, but if I weren’t in the mood for sex yet took a pill that suddenly created a uterine waterfall, I would probably just change my underwear and go about my day. Just because I have a sopping vagina doesn’t exactly mean I want to have something rammed in there. Perhaps the drug companies <em>could</em> design a drug that increases blood flow to the clitoris, but if it were to make my “little man in the canoe” grow just as Viagra does to the penis, no thank-you. That is the stuff nightmares are made of. </p><p>The reason women don’t have a purely operative drug like Viagra is because we have a hole in our bodies, and said hole is always open. This isn’t to imply the hole is permanently primed and ready for entry, but there is sexy jelly that can ease that process. So if we are talking about pure functionality, Viagra = lube. I would assume, considering the risks of taking any drug (and there are many associated with Addyi), slapping on some sauce would be a safer choice.</p><p>The assertion that Addyi actually makes women <em>want</em> to have sex is unique. No male drug makes such a declaration. Yet according to the medical evaluation of this female Viagra, only <a href="http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2389384" target="_blank">8-13%</a> of women saw improvement. For women with low sex drives, that might be enough to inspire experimenting, but that’s a pretty low chance. The current medical paradigm relies on pharmaceutical pills to solve most health problems. Yet medications tend to cover up the symptoms, rarely addressing the root source of an issue. Every drug will have side effects to contend with. And there is nothing “side” about them. They are just effects that affect people. Some more than others, but nothing is without consequence.</p><p>Sexual desire is a deeply complex phenomenon that scientists are only scratching the surface of understanding. Addyi’s assurance that someone will desire sex more with a medication seems like a very bold promise, like giving someone <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBS8VWG_V0I" target="_blank">a pill</a> for spiritual enlightenment. If anything, you could take some ecstasy and want to screw, but get ready to spend the rest of your evening insisting your arm get tickled and talking about how much you <em>love</em> pillows. </p><p>There are a variety of reasons beyond a biological deficiency that could affect one’s sex drive. Some people exist in monogamous marriages yet their sexual selves may not be monogamous. When you cut off a huge piece of your sexual identity to remain faithful, that will impact your desire. You can’t just squelch one part of you and not expect it to impact the rest. Sure, we all like banging at the beginning, yet after some time, lust fades. It has to; otherwise our kids would be traumatized. </p><p>Some people don’t want to have sex because their partners are jerks. There is resentment, bitterness, fighting, yet they still feel the pressure to stay together. We hold onto people because we are scared to let them go; yet that doesn’t mean we want to fuck their brains out. Or you could be single and disenchanted with the dating scene, lack of intimacy, or guys named Asher who expect you to give them a blowie on the first date. There are many factors to consider when examining why a person’s sexual interest has waned. Ideally those reasons will be fully contemplated before creating a dependency on drugs.  </p><p>Of course there are women with purely physical issues, or who suffer from an extreme medical condition. Yet for most of us, sex is about psychology. We all go through phases of sexual interest, and there is much to learn emotionally from those ebbs and flows. For the majority of healthy women, problems of sexuality will not get solved by some over-the-counter miracle, but rather, by examining what is going on inside your mind, heart and vagina.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1041224'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1041224" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:55:00 -0700 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1041224 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Sex & Relationships LGBTQ Personal Health Sex & Relationships female women sexual dysfunction pill How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex, Death and Everything in Between http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/how-talk-your-kids-about-sex-death-and-everything-between <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1040913'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1040913" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">While some topics are hard to discuss and might make you uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean your children need to be sheltered. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/motherdaughter.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>I lie to my kid constantly. I tell her the store is closed in the middle of the day, when I don’t want to go. I will say, “I have no idea where that chocolate cookie went,” when I know exactly where it went — in my mouth. I’ve even been known to suggest that there are magic green beans, and if she eats enough of them, she might grow into a giant with fairy wings.</p><p>Even though I have flexible morals, I feel it’s crucial to be 100% truthful with your kids when it comes to the more complex meta issues of existence. I believe children can handle the greater truths of the human condition, and if we allow them to believe that the world is a benevolent place designed to serve them, they will grow into entitled shit-heads who don’t know how to handle the suffering of life.</p><p>Knowledge is empowerment. Even though some topics are hard to discuss and might make you uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean your children need to be sheltered. When kids express curiosity in a subject, there is a way to talk about these issues in an appropriate and upfront way, yet not crush their innocence in the process.</p><p>When my 3-year-old asked me how babies are made, I told her. I didn’t go into graphic detail, but I answered her questions honestly. After hearing the information she took a minute then asked, “So you know Sally that goes to my school? So her dad put his penis in her mom’s vagina? Then sperm came out, and got all scrumbled with her mom’s eggs, and Sally lived in her mom’s tummy until she was born from her vagina? That’s happened with all my friends?” </p><p>Did I consider that maybe my daughter would tell little Sally about her dad putting his penis in her mom’s vagina? Not until that moment. Sally’s mom and dad might have frowned upon me, but guess what? It didnt' happen, so I can still go to PTA meetings with my head held high.</p><p>Same-sex marriage was a 30-second conversation that went like this. “So boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls? That means some kids get to have TWO MOMMIES!? They are so lucky!” Now all her My Little Ponies are gay-married.</p><p>Death is a huge part of life, and if we hide it from our kids, we set them up for a major existential crisis. The more you fear death, the more tortured you will be by the inevitable fate of us all. I live on a farm, so we have a lot of firsthand familiarity. First off, I have a cat who is most likely part of a cult. She brings us mice after ceremoniously eviscerating them, and then strews their body parts across the house creating a variety of mandalas. This has ignited many talks about the circle of life, and how all creatures eventually die; that death is nothing to fear, but a reminder to appreciate life. My now 5-year-old will peacefully play next to a mouse head, and wait patiently for me to find rubber gloves to cart away the carcass.</p><p>Every year we house baby turkeys who eventually become Thanksgiving dinner. After a few years of holding the tiny birds, my daughter decided she didn't want to eat turkey anymore. She is making her own informed decisions about consumption through her actual experiences. I am not enforcing any value system, but rather exposing her to the reality, and she is free to make her own choices. </p><p>We have talked at length about drugs and addiction, because I think any parent who doesn’t exclusively feed their child bark, deals with the obsession with sugar. What does it mean to crave sugar? Why does she always want ice cream when she is bored? What is it she is trying to fill with that kind of stimulus? We have conscious conversations about these issues, because many of us spend our grownup lives looking for outside substances to fill the void. How do we find balance between enjoyment and excess? Sugar is the first drug kids experiment with, and for most of them, it won’t be the last. The earlier we start asking these questions, the sooner we can dissect and understand our own motivations. I’m not saying she can never indulge, but it’s important to have awareness of what’s driving that desire.</p><p>My daughter and I talk about politics, police brutality, racism, global warming, the extinction of animals, and more. She is forming her own opinions of the world through my disclosures of reality. She believes humans who hunt endangered animals should go to jail, Wall Street should be less greedy and learn to share, and policemen need to remember their job is to protect people and not hurt them. Her solution for discrimination is to remember that we are all one family of people, and she is perplexed by sexism — although she is kind of sexist herself because she believes boys are yucky. The most socially aware and active adults are the ones who are knowledgeable and have a clear understanding of their worldview. Why not start when they’re young? You’d be surprised by how wise your kid is. Like mine, who has unequivocally concluded that sex is just plain silly. </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1040913'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1040913" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 14 Aug 2015 09:04:00 -0700 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1040913 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Sex & Relationships Culture LGBTQ Sex & Relationships parenting sex education talking to your kids about sex parent-child communication same-sex marriage What's a Feminist Mom to Do With a Disney Princess-Loving Daughter? http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/gender/whats-feminist-mom-do-disney-princess-loving-daughter <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1039062'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1039062" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">I tried—really tried—to shield her from corporate culture and feminine stereotypes.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/mom_daughter.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>As a post-modern feminist progressive liberal parent, I was supposed to be the kind of woman who spawned a gender-neutral, omni-racial child. When I was pregnant, my prevailing philosophy was that gender was a construct created by social convention, and I was convinced my child would transcend the imposed definitions of femininity or masculinity. When I gave birth to my daughter I dressed her in taupe, gave her non-specific wooden toys whittled by elves, and kept her away from any media that insisted girlhood is outlined by a particular definition.     </p><p>I sent my child to a hippy wholesome Waldorf school where she spent her days identifying types of bark. I limited her screen time and tried to introduce a variety of stimuli that avoided all platforms of stereotypes. </p><p>But you know something? My daughter still got into everything pink, and everything princess.</p><p>It was unavoidable. I tried. Oh god, did I try. But unless I was going to move to an intentional community and live in a geodesic dome off the grid, chances were my kid would at some point be exposed to American culture at large. I made a true effort to avoid indoctrinating her with conventional feminine interests, yet despite my insistence that girls could play with trucks, my daughter formed her own preferences to everything Disney Princess.</p><p>After a while I gave up. My house now looks like Disney has had explosive diarrhea all over it. <em>Frozen</em> dresses, <em>Little Mermaid</em> Barbies, and an endless array of sweatshop-produced plastic toys litter every room. I tried to direct her attention towards goddesses and priestesses from ancient times, but my daughter’s opinion was clear: Princesses were the shit, and she wanted to be one. How could Kali compete with the million-dollar propaganda machine of the Disney empire? Maybe if there were an Artemis cartoon and sexy action doll to go along with it, I would have an easier time selling her value?   </p><p>I am not alone in suffering through this pandemic. Lots of my friends who eat only biodynamic berries harvested in the moonlight, wear flowing organic clothes that were gifted to them at Burning Man, and say phrases like “paradigm shift” in everyday conversations are experiencing the same thing with their daughters. Despite their intentions to raise children free of big business stimulus, their kids are still captivated by the corporate cacophony of commercialism. </p><p>It’s not like my kid has a gun to my head and is forcing me to buy her this stuff. I know I could deny her and insist she follow my moral compass. I do my best to have limits and standards. But kids are intense. When they want something from you, they will wear you down like no other. The CIA could learn a lot from a 5-year-old when it comes to interrogation strategies.</p><p>Since I had already allowed the princess paradigm to penetrate my daughter’s psyche (see what I did there, sneaking in the word paradigm?), I decided to ask her what it meant to be a princess.</p><p>“Well, princesses are kind. They’re always nice to everyone. They’re also ‘savers’ - like how Belle from <em>Beauty and the Beast</em> saves her dad.” </p><p>I then had some of my mom friends ask their daughters why they loved princesses. One little girl loved Elsa from <em>Frozen</em> because she has “so many powers” and thinks Princess Sophia “says beautiful things to her sister.” Another little girl wanted to be a princess “to wear a crown, silly,” and because “they are not rude. Them nice.” My daughter’s best friend said she’s interested in princesses because it takes “true wisdom to be a royal princess.”</p><p>I was surprised by how interested these girls are in the ethics of princessdom. It almost seems like an innocent obsession if all of them talk about the kindness and character traits of princesses. Yet even though the girls genuinely care about the emotional qualities of their heroines, their vision is consequently manipulated by the aesthetic they are presented with.    </p><p>The girls are acutely aware of princess fashion. They notice how the princesses wear fancy clothes, and have pretty faces with thin bodies. One little girl would practice walking like Elsa — who has a pretty major sway in the hips — and told her mom she wished she had a similar defined waist and body type.  The princess look made an almost equal impact as the princess nature.</p><p>The princess personality isn’t the problem as much as the beauty standard she represents. I’m not saying we have to throw pimples on these dolls or give them greasy hair, but the uniform and precise attractiveness definitely seeps into their perceived value. If we want to raise women who believe their significance extends beyond their beauty, we can’t pump little girls with the message that goodness = extravagant dresses and a perfect physique.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1039062'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1039062" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 14:21:00 -0700 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1039062 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org LGBTQ Culture LGBTQ Disney Princesses feminism Could Polyamory Be the Key to Lasting Marital Bliss—Even for Parents? http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/could-polyamory-be-key-lasting-marital-bliss-even-parents <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1036370'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1036370" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The only weird thing about some polyamorous parents is how lasting and deep their friendship is.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/poly_.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>The conventional social standard in modern relationships is to get married. Once you are in that monogamous dynamic, there is the next cultural expectation to clone yourself because, hey, this overpopulated decaying world needs more people like you! As a couple, you then go about whatever method to make a baby, which is usually a good time as long as your ding-a-ling gets slinged and your bing-bongs get banged. Once you have said baby, there will be no more quickies on the kitchen floor or against the living room door. (That’s how little Johnny gets traumatized and experiences his first primal wound.) Sexual spontaneity takes a back seat to planning, scheduling and trying not to fall asleep before 9pm.</p><p>The lust one feels for his or her long-term partner is already a precarious orchid that can wilt at any moment. When you add the complexity of kids who are always trying to sleep in your bed or break your spirit by insisting on wearing the only pair of shoes you can’t find, it is easy to lose sight of your sexual identity. Many couples are resigned to the idea that sex just isn’t that important anymore. They have their once-a-week session, and prioritize other things—like <em>True Detective</em>, which is amazing and must be watched at least three times to get every nuance. </p><p>Yet other couples make a different choice. They decide that not only are their sexual selves of major importance, but they also want to explore beyond the marriage to ignite that fire that can only be lit by someone new.</p><p>There has been a shift in the cultural zeitgeist, and the conversation around marriage and monogamy has expanded. After reading many <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/02/04/monogamy_is_the_natural_way_for_humans_but_so_is_polygamy/">articles</a> on this subject, I wanted to know firsthand what it was like for those who take the leap to step outside the norm. I am not talking key parties of the '70s, because too many women shave their pubic hair these days and sadly there just isn’t enough bush to recreate those times. I am referring to married couples with children who choose a lifestyle that includes having relationships outside of marriage, although their spouse is still their primary partner. Most of them keep their polyamory to themselves for fear of being judged—especially as moms and dads.</p><p>I interviewed some polyamorous parents for <a href="http://overshareshow.com/episode/open-marriage-sesame">my podcast</a> to better understand this unusual life choice. At first I was concerned that I would be asked to join an orgy, but I quickly realized I didn’t look that cute—and also how many preconceived notions I have. After two minutes of talking to this couple I wasn’t thinking “wow, what sexual deviants.” The only thing abnormal about them was how profound and deep their friendship was. This couples was totally free of the most poisoning influence in a marriage—resentment. </p><p>When you explore an open marriage, you have to have a more open dialogue about everything. The result is less unresolved bitterness left under the dinner table to rot. This culture of honesty is contagious, and lends itself to a familial standard of truth before feelings. Most monogamous couples often self-censor their erotic cravings to avoid conflict, yet the more we hide from each other, the more we inadvertently promote the idea that emotions are something to hide. Even though talking to your kids about unconventional sexual choices may not be easy (and also not something your kids want to picture, EVER) if you are happier in life, you are happier in your parenting process. Stepping outside of your roles to access another part of yourself can help you feel refreshed to face the monotony of daily life.  </p><p>Desire outside marriage happens. Many social anthropologists believe the modern paradigm is an archaic institution birthed from agrarian culture when women were seen as property. We can look at our primate ancestors, and read books like <em>Sex at Dawn</em>, or <em>Mating in Captivity</em>, which have many interesting and persuasive analyses of how these institutional conventions are not natural. But for me, the most convincing aspect to consider is that even though there is major shame associated with cheating—expensive divorces, losing your kids, destroying the community you built together—people still do it. All the time. Yet the majority of people will lie until the bitter end rather than admit they may have felt sexually attracted to someone else.</p><p>The motivation to seek intimacy with other people is not necessarily a sign that you don’t value your commitment to your spouse. So what happens to a marriage when you take the idea of cheating off the table? What would your marriage look like without the rigid structure to hold it together? Is it conceivable to extend the boundaries of betrayal so the chasm is so wide it’s almost impossible to violate it? What if the rules of fidelity in your marriage were so few and far between that all that was around you was the freedom to make your own choice. Would you be happier?</p><p>These are really scary questions. Yet fear and jealousy should not be the prevailing reasoning to commit to sexual exclusivity. Divorce is infinitely more painful for a family than mom and dad sitting down and negotiating their own terms of what their marriage should look like. We all blindly agree to the standards and architecture laid out before us, yet the marriage contract is way more complex then say, a fishing license. Most kids want mom and dad, or dad and dad, or mom and mom, or omni gender and omni gender, to stay together. Perhaps it’s worth exploring the complexity before losing everything because you were too terrified to ask the questions. Polyamory will not save an already deteriorating marriage, but having truly honest conversations about lust, love and sexuality might.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1036370'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1036370" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 14 May 2015 16:45:00 -0700 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1036370 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Sex & Relationships Sex & Relationships polyamory marriage monogamy relationships infidelity Which of These Five Dysfunctional Personality Types Best Describes You? http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/personal-health/which-these-five-dysfunctional-personality-types-best-describes-you <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1034611'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1034611" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Many of us spend our adult lives recovering from our childhoods.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/personality.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Many animals rely heavily on instinct when it comes to raising their young. Of course, I will never know if a mama bear is concerned about feeding her children farmed salmon. I don’t  think mama monkeys debate wearing their offspring vs. pushing them in strollers. And I am pretty sure that when a mama lizard eats her baby she isn’t contemplating, “should I be doing this?" but rather just devours it because infant flesh is delicious.</p><p>Our capacity to analyze, reason and project consequences into the future means parenting is a very complex process for human beings. Of course, there are natural reflexes, but there is also strategy that comes into play when you start thinking about the kind of adult you want your kid to be. When a mama snake abandons her eggs, she isn’t wondering, “will they need therapy for this later?” But the answer is, yes. They will most likely go on antidepressants, suffer from an inability to commit to anyone who actually loves them, andchase unavailable snakes who will reignite this primal wound while continuing the cycle of trauma.</p><p>When it comes to our personalities, there will always be the influence of nature and nurture. Yet the hard truth is that the way we were parented has a major impact on our pathologies. Think about all the people you have been closest to: lovers, friends and family members. You have probably experienced a side of them that is really problematic/annoying/sucks super hard. This will inevitably ignite a fight where you’ll want to shake them like a British nanny while screaming, “Why the hell are you like this?” Most often when they reveal the core impetus, it will stem back to their mom and dad not loving them enough/loving them too much/not being there/being too involved.    </p><p>Controversial psychoanalyst <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Reich">Wilhelm Reich</a> developed the idea of <a href="http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/the_endurer_masochist.html">Characterology</a>, which essentially categorizes people into five groups stemming from experiences in our nuclear families. If you have the time, and I know you do because we are all on the Internet to distract us from our feelings, then figure out if you are:</p><p>1. <a href="http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/the_unwanted_child_schizoid.html">The Unwanted Child</a> (schizoid): Felt unwanted (usually by the mother) and “tends to recreate their perceived hostility in choices they make about themselves, and in the relationships and environments they choose.” They usually seek refuge in spirituality, and are prone to be susceptible to cults.   </p><p>2. <a href="http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/the_needy_child_oral.html">The Needy Child</a> (oral): Was not given enough consistent nurturing from parents. Often they were adored as babies, but as they grew to be more complicated, there was an emotional abandonment. The result is they either become excessively needy and demanding, or they develop an aversion to neediness. This type “focuses intently on the needs of others, and becomes a caretaker or co-dependent personality.”</p><p>3. <a href="http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/the_endurer_masochist.html">The Endurer</a> (masochist): These are the children of controlling parents. The child is then socialized to doubt his or her own nature, and seeks to be guided by the parent instead. “They are good, compliant, docile, pleasing, and falsely happy all the time, but are seething inside.”</p><p>4. <a href="http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/the_controller__leader_psychopath.html">The Controller</a> (leader, psychopath): Here we see the children of parents who belittled and judged their authentic self-expression—essentially rejecting their true nature/identity. The parent then forces the child to be an idealized version of who they are. “The child learns to restrict those parts of themself that were not reinforced, and to inflate those parts that were highly valued and demanded of them.” Yet even though they can manipulate their talents to “get love,” inside they are crippled with insecurity and self-doubt.  </p><p>5. <a href="http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/the_perfectionist__obsessional_rigid.html">The Perfectionist</a> (obsessional, rigid): This child was continually rejected by the parent of the opposite sex, and possibly also of the same sex. This wounding parent is mostly like a perfectionist, is more cerebral than heart-centered, and is threatened by the emotions of others. They dismiss the love from their child. “The child learns that it is unsafe to love sexually with an open heart and to experience natural human rivalry. The child will start to control himself so his impulses and urges do not lead him into painful outcomes.”</p><p>Are you okay? Do you need a hug?  </p><p>We are all somewhat damaged by childhood, and as a result, bring our emotional baggage into our child-rearing. It is somewhat inevitable, but also manageable. As a parent, one responsibility you do have (besides not eating your kids) is to truly face the suffering of your past and do your best to heal. It’s only through a clear headspace that you can acknowledge if you are repeating patterns that have damaged you, or creating new problems as a direct result of an extreme rebellion to the way you were raised. Yeah, if you had super controlling parents you may want to be more hands-off, but that can also feel like neglect if you aren’t careful.</p><p>No matter what parenting style you choose, whether you’re a “Tiger Mom,” into “Attachment Parenting,” or maybe even “Non-Attached Parenting” because you’re Buddhist, there are going to be both negative and positive results. The intention can’t be perfection, but rather evolution. All you can expect from yourself is to do better than what you experienced, and be open enough to re-evaluate your efforts as you notice the impact on your child. The more you see parenting as a partnership with your kid where you are both in a constant state of growth, the more you will save on psychiatrist bills.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1034611'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1034611" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:28:00 -0700 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1034611 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Personal Health Personal Health Sex & Relationships Wilhelm Reich parenting personality types psychology Stripping Down Female Sexual Perversions http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/gender/stripping-down-female-sexual-perversions <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1031763'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1031763" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">In our quest for sexual empowerment we have to put on blinders from public pressure and turn inward.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_61288258_0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>As a sex positive feminist, I want to support female expression of sexuality in all positions (except the reverse cowgirl because that makes NO sense anatomically). Most efforts to challenge conventional definitions inspire me, although others leave me wondering what kind of chafing might occur when Miley Cyrus rides construction equipment naked? It seems the dance between true empowerment and self-exploitation exists somewhere between the twerk and the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cqH3kMESl4">jerk</a>.</p><p>When women want attention, they can do sexually stimulating things, and people will pay attention – hence the infamous media doctrine “sex sells.” Even though women are encouraged to use their sexuality, they are also penalized for it – which is extra traumatic if you are not heterosexual and don’t care for anything “penile!” To find empowerment within the virgin/whore paradigm, we women have to distinguish between authentic acts, and doing things just to fulfill the craving of being noticed. When we come from a genuine place of self-knowing, we are in control of our sexuality rather than using it.</p><p>One of the main aspects regarding representations of sexuality is intentionality. The motives behind the act are way more revealing then what is actually going on. In the premier of “Girls,” when Allison Williams’ character receives anilingus at such a startling velocity that her butt cheeks vibrate from her partner’s enthusiastic display I thought it was meant as a comedic visual on a comedy centered series. Shortly thereafter, I read <a href="http://jezebel.com/counterpoint-shocking-ass-eating-scene-on-girls-was-ba-1678948838">an article</a> on Jezebel stating ass munching is soooooo last year, and “Girls” should get with the program as ass play isn’t even that big of a deal. I found this piece problematic because of the implication women need to keep one upping the status quo in order to exhibit worthwhile depictions of desire. If the “Marnie” character had been getting double fisted, would that have been more appropriate? Pushing boundaries and exploring taboos is not the only way to explore sexuality. I am weary of the notion that in order for women to be interesting, they have to be shocking. </p><p><a href="http://jezebel.com/i-tricked-my-boyfriend-into-seeing-the-grossest-movie-o-1638824601">Another article </a>on Jezebel, covered the author tricking his boyfriend into seeing a German movie called “Wetlands.” The movie (based on this <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wetlands_(novel)">book</a>) uses flashbacks to tell the story as the protagonatist, Helen, is stuck in the hospital from cutting her butt open while shaving around her hemorrhoids. A common mistake! The Jezebel author describes Helen as “sexually empowered” and “knowing what she wants” which involves rubbing her gaping genitals on a toilet seat covered in feces, shoving an avocado up her twat, and my personal favorite, “putting the shower head inside herself and filling her vagina with water until she feels like she'll burst. Then she pushes until the entire thing feels like it's going to fall out.”</p><p>Now call me old fashioned, but, seriously, WTF?</p><p>This story seems to be more about a damaged woman working some serious shit out than a depiction of carnal female desire. My reaction is not because I cannot accept the vast complexity of female sexual preferences. I am pretty sure that if this movie were about a man, I would have just as many questions. Mainly, were you hugged enough as a kid? Regardless of gender, I take issue with equating empowerment with seriously dangerous sexual acts. This mentality leads to trends like “rosebudding,” which causes women to experience “anal prolapse.” (If you aren't sure what that is and want to have nightmares for the rest of your life, feel free to Google search it).    </p><p>For most of human history, female yearnings have been unspoken and even forbidden. In our search for equilibrium, it's understandable for the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction. I'm grateful to exist in a time where women have platforms to journey into their perversions. Yet I am apprehensive of promoting the idea that any sex act is healthy if performed by a woman, simply because she is expressing herself. There is a vast difference between a woman feeling comfortable with her own relationship to her sexual identity, and creating an organic farm inside her uterus from the variety of produce forced up there.</p><p>True sexual empowerment has much less to do with conduct, but rather how you actually feel about yourself. When Sarah Silverman offered to “<a href="http://scissorsheldon.com/">scissor</a>” Sheldon Adelson so he wouldn’t donate $100 million to Mitt Romney’s campaign, she was obviously suggesting a sexually provocative idea, yet she wasn’t degrading herself. Even as she lay on her couch in a bikini to demonstrate this “lesbian act,” (with her dog mind you), nothing about what she was doing was skanky. Silverman knows her true value is far beyond whatever sexual play she is engaging in. The key is for women to believe in their talents and worth beyond their genitals.</p><p>Self-esteem can be hard to hold on to if we buy into the prototypes of women in the media. We are exposed to blatant contradictions, and these mixed messages can hijack our understanding of self-worth. We are told to deep throat Carl’s Jr. burgers, but also to cover up our slutty nipples while breastfeeding and losing all that baby weight.  Although we are products of culture, we also shape it. In our quest for sexual empowerment we have to put on blinders from public pressure, and turn inward to honor who we truly are. Even tough at times the culture will suggest otherwise, we are human first, vagina second.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1031763'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1031763" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 12 Feb 2015 07:07:00 -0800 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1031763 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org LGBTQ LGBTQ Sex & Relationships sex empowerment feminism sexuality I Don’t Care That You Don’t Care About My Baby http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/i-dont-care-you-dont-care-about-my-baby <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1031242'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1031242" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">We parents aren’t sharing our baby stories on social media because we are trying to bore you.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/shutterstock_200231768-edited.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>In a recent <a href="http://www.alternet.org/sex-amp-relationships/i-do-not-care-about-your-baby">article</a> titled “I Don’t Care About Your Baby,” the author, Jonathan Naymark, articulates why he doesn’t give a flying f*#k in a rolling doughnut about your baby. Naymark’s main target is the way people indulge the narcissism of parents—and the self-absorbed assumption that anyone actually gives a crap about their kid’s first crap in the potty. Even though I am also inundated with babies on my Facebook news feed, I see the phenomenon of the oversharing parent through a different lens. Mainly because just yesterday I posted <a href="http://instagram.com/p/yZ_sYZMsRQ/?modal=true">a picture</a> of my kid’s kinetic sand sculpture of a “snowman,” that for whatever reason, had balls and a boner.</p><p>When I squirted a being from my loins, I had zero interest in losing my identity into the abyss of motherhood. I consider myself an actualized woman who did things like go to Burning Man, eat acid, and then read the dictionary. I had every intention of maintaining my cool status, and being totally laid back about everything. Yet I post, write, and talk about my daughter all the time. This is not because I feel like she is an extension of myself that I am living vicariously through—or that I feel the compulsion to brag. It's just that she is a huge part of my life. I have to spend a lot of time with my kid because she is only four years old, and doesn’t know how to use an oven. As a result, every once in a while when I am jaded and playing dolls, I will distract myself by tweeting how my child really does suck at singing “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. She just can’t hit that high note!</p><p>We parents aren’t sharing our baby stories on social media because we are trying to bore you; it is because we are bored! And if we are not bored and just really into the process of rearing children, then we are sharing our joy! Either way, the intention is to feel as if we are part of something. We live in an unprecedented time in human history were community is something you have to seek out. Although I am sure it wasn’t a picnic living in the 1800-s and harvesting wheat with your 3-year old, at least you were surrounded by active members of society. Unless you live on a hippy commune with your guru Radiant Body, modern living is very quarantined.</p><p>The craving to share anything on social media, regardless of content, is rooted in a desperate need for validation. It doesn’t matter if I post a casual shot of me hanging out in a bikini, or if one of my toddler screaming bloody murder because she let go of her balloon that flew away. (I TOLD HER THAT WOULD HAPPEN!) The message is the same - PLEASE NOTICE ME! We are all isolated, lonely, and crave the sense of connection that comes from these technological platforms. If you peel open the diaper to look at why parents overshare, you won’t just find a pile of semi-digested organic peas - but rather a frantic craving for support.</p><p>There is a conventional path towards adulthood, and that usually involves partnering off with someone, rubbing your genitals together, and eventually one of you (or a third party) will host a baby. Exactly because this is the status quo, it is an easy way to ignite public endorsement. Forget the fact that I scream at my reflection for two hours every morning, and make racial slurs in my sleep – I had a baby and that is something everyone can be proud of! When people spawn, they get instant encouragement that their life has meaning - and isn’t that what we are all looking for? We need for our existence to have value, so we can resist the urge to jump off high buildings.</p><p>If we are going to critique parenting on social media then we have to examine the spectacle of our online selves for everyone. Parents are just using the vocabulary given to us by the platform. So if you don’t care about my baby, then you probably are using these mediums as a popularity contest rather than a meaningful outlet to keep in touch with those that you love. When social media becomes a place to build a virtual audience, of course you don’t care about what people post, because you don’t’ care about those actual people. Anyone who genuinely knows and cares about me does care about my kid to some degree. Mainly because she says hilarious things like, “I would like you more if you were a stuffed animal.”</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1031242'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1031242" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 07:52:00 -0800 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1031242 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Sex & Relationships Culture Sex & Relationships social media ovesharing baby children kids parenthood narcissism Sia Video Featuring Talented Young Dancer Is Inspirational, Not Pedophilia: One Parent's View http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/media/sia-video-featuring-talented-young-dancer-inspirational-not-pedophilia-one-parents-view <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1030283'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1030283" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The controversy over a new music video tells us a lot about how we perceive sexuality. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/screen_shot_2015-01-14_at_11.40.12_am.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p dir="ltr">The modern music video has been drastically dumbed down over the past 30 years. Once an art form, the music video has devolved into images of women thrusting their pelvises at alarming speeds. Pop culture doesn’t have to be high art; it's allowed to be entertaining. But images of half-naked people has gotten old. </p><p dir="ltr">Sia’s controversial video for "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vjPBrBU-TM">Chandelier</a>" is the first music video I'd seen in years that actually made me feel and think. The choreography is brilliant, the dancer Maddie Ziegler is impressive, and the vision behind the piece is deeply compelling. I watched that video with my daughter over 60 times. She eventually demanded I buy her the same leotard as Maddie’s so she could practice her modern dance moves. My kid is only 4, so she definitely has some work to do on her coordination, but I appreciated the fact that she was inspired.    </p><p dir="ltr">When Sia’s new video "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWZGAExj-es">Elastic Heart</a>" was released, starring Maddie and Shia LaBeouf, I was eager to see it. I am going to admit, my first time watching it I thought, “uhhhh what???” It was hard for me not to compare it to the other video because Sia used the same dancer. Yet that wasn’t my real problem. Initially, I was uncomfortable with the concept of a 12-year-old girl doing anything around a 28-year-old man – especially when a lot of flesh is exposed. As adults we tend to see the world through the lens of sexuality, but that does not make everything sexual. Do I really believe that a halved pitted peach is trying to look like a vagina?</p><p dir="ltr">I watched the video again, this time with my daughter, and I had a very different reaction. I was incredibly moved, and actually teared up at the end when Maddie tries fruitlessly to pull Shia out of the cage as the life leaves his eyes. My kid and I talked about who she thought Maddie and the man represented. My daughter didn’t think the imagery perverted. Instead, she saw the man as the little girl’s father. In her mind, the video was about how parents and children struggle with hearing one another.   </p><p dir="ltr">There are many ways one can interpret “Elastic Heart,” but the fact that people are ripping it apart for promoting pedophilia is pointing the finger at the wrong culprit. You know what promotes pedophilia? Child brides and sex trafficking. Perhaps we can direct our attention to ending that horrific epidemic rather than demonizing artistic expression. </p><p>We live in a society that still values women for their sexual organs more than their minds. There are many cultural triggers that impact sexuality, but blaming Sia’s video is hardly going to make any difference when it comes the horror of child abuse. In fact, if this video does incite people to talk about pedophilia, that is actually a positive thing. The more open the conversation, the less shame for the victims who are too afraid to come forward.   </p><p dir="ltr">Criticisms of this video come more from the fear of a young girl’s sexuality than from actually believing Sia would promote pedophilia in her work. I mean, who would make that career move? There is nothing sexy about what Maddie is doing, and if we see it that way, it’s because of our own assumptions.</p><p dir="ltr">The panic around pre-teen sexuality is actually a huge problem because they're made to feel embarrassed about their sexuality. It's common for dads to joke they'll be warning off young suitors with shotguns, but that is actually a really detrimental message. When a father can’t deal with his little girl becoming a sexual being, she learns to see her feelings as wrong. The alienation runs deep, and she may start to feel guilty that her body is changing.</p><p dir="ltr">There is an impossible standard for girls coming of age to strike the perfect balance between innocence and sexiness. The Madonna-and-whore complex begins even before a young girl becomes a woman.     </p><p dir="ltr">If we want to live in a healthy, sex-positive culture, we can’t treat every man like a creepy sex offender, nor can we sweep atrocities under the rug when they do take place. A man isn’t going to become a pedophile just by seeing a music video, and even implying that is insulting to the billions of men who would never consider violating a child.</p><p dir="ltr">Considering that this music video by Sia sparked a conversation about these matters, shouldn’t we be thanking her? Anytime art makes you consider how society functions, it's actually doing its job. While “Elastic Heart” may have made you wince while watching, it also got you talking.       </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1030283'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1030283" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:25:00 -0800 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1030283 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Media Media SIA music video Our Overzealous Protective Society Makes It Really Hard to Be a Parent These Days http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/personal-health/our-overzealous-protective-society-makes-it-really-hard-be-parent-these-days <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1029990'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1029990" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">In defense of conscious, modern parenting.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/parent.png" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>Parents today can be some of the most annoying people on Planet Earth. They brag incessantly about their kid’s first crap in the potty on Facebook, they’re overly protective to the point of making their children wear life jackets in the bath, and they incessantly praise the brilliance of their precious little bundles of joy as if they are the next Gandhi or Einstein. Basically, they act like they’re the first people to ever have children with their sanctimonious and overly precious methodologies, making sure everyone who sits on the bench gets a trophy for participation. But you guys…it is not our fault!</p><p>Being a parent in today’s social climate is drastically different than any generation before, and not solely because we are a bunch of self-righteous, arrogant tools. We are reacting to an ethos created by contemporary American culture. The pressure is extreme because there are too many outlets to compare ourselves to other parents. If my Pinterest Elmo cookies make Elmo look like a 60-year-old hooker, does that mean my kid will turn out to be a stripper in Tampa? According to my online mom group, if I don’t engage my 2-week-old baby enough she will probably never get into college.   </p><p>The past is often glorified as the days when everyone was sooooo much more relaxed, but even if I wanted to parent like my parents, someone would likely call child protective services, and I would be arrested.</p><p>When I was a kid, the standards of safety were nothing like today. My mom would breastfeed me while sitting in the front seat of the car, and then toss me in the back to roll around like a swaddled sausage when my dad made a wide turn. We didn’t wear seat belts, and my mom would let us ride in the back of the pickup truck to feel the wind in our hair. It was the '80s, and I’m sure my mom was like, “Reagan is president, let’s do cocaine and bet on the stock market!” My friend’s dad used to pick him up from school with a beer in a “koozie” resting on the front dash so his drink would stay cold for the drive home. Now, that is actually a sad story about a boy who grew up with an alcoholic dad, but the point is, the law won’t even allow for this kind of behavior anymore.</p><p>I don’t put my kid in a carseat because I’m neurotic; I do it because I have to! Look what happened to Britney Spears, who let her young son sit on her lap while driving down the 101. She was practically crucified! It is not like every modern parent is obsessed with safety to the point of pathology. We actually don’t have much of a choice. I once let my kid ride her bike without a helmet. I walked slowly next to her as she made sense of how the pedals worked, and three different people stopped to tell me how she could get a head injury if she fell. She was two feet off the ground, going maybe 1 mph, and her Barbie bike had training wheels. But you bet your sweet ass I got her a helmet anyway. </p><p>People love to talk about how back when they were kids they ran around their neighborhoods until it got dark out. Do you know how much I would love to throw my kid out of the house to entertain herself while I do important things like eat my weight in frosting? I can’t do that because no one lets their kids play alone any more. She would be the only one, and subsequently prime picking for child molesters and kidnappers because they have no other kids to grab! Plus, if I let my daughter play unsupervised in a public area, like say <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/07/arrested-for-letting-a-9-year-old-play-at-the-park-alone/374436/">a park</a> for children, I would get sent to jail like countless <a href="http://www.fox4news.com/story/19600642/mom-arrested-for-letting-kids-play-outside">other moms</a>.</p><p>Modern parents are often ridiculed for all the parenting "styles" we adhere to. Personally, I practice non-attached attachment parenting because I believe in Buddhist principles. Yet we live in a global community, inundating us with endless information about how the rest of humanity does everything. The media preys on our insecurities, insisting there is always a better way. The 4.6 million “mommy bloggers” on the Internet blog away, and there are over 70,000 books on parenting. It’s hard not to wonder if you’re making the right choices when you read how some children in Mongolia never get sick or cry because they are breastfed until the age of 16.</p><p>I admit my insistence that my kid only eats organic, gluten-free cookies can be annoying, but processed food is poison (even if I did manage to grow up on it). I can’t help that I know just how detrimental hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup are to the body. I can’t feign ignorance like my mom when she says, “We didn’t know you couldn’t smoke while pregnant.” I don’t fault my mom for not going to the library to educate herself on the effects of carcinogens (the Dewey Decimal system is confusing as hell). But it took me less than five minutes to learn every toxic chemical my baby might accidently lick during her first six months on the planet.</p><p>Historically, parents just parent whatever way they were raised. The mentality of “if it was good enough for me to get hit with a belt, it’s good enough for you” prevailed. But you know what? Today’s adults actually aren’t necessarily the greatest people in the world, so maybe going back to the parental drawing board isn’t such a bad idea. If parents in the past had invested a little more thought into their childrearing, maybe the world wouldn’t be the violent trashcan it is today.</p><p>Modern parents may be overthinking everything, but we do share an intention to consciously examine our approach. The future might be run by a bunch of crybabies who are overly sensitive when they don’t get praised enough, but I’m pretty sure this will be way better than dealing with the greedy aggressive tyrannical adults who have been running the world thus far.</p><p>At least I hope so. </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2015 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1029990'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1029990" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:44:00 -0800 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1029990 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Personal Health Culture Personal Health parenting buddhism conscious parenting Is Pop Culture Polluting My Child’s Mind? http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/culture/pop-culture-polluting-my-childs-mind <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '1028547'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1028547" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Katy Perry and Ariana Grande have quickly replaced Baa Baa Black Sheep and Wheels on the Bus for my daughter.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/images/AFP/photo_1332236528421-1-0.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>When I first became a parent, I wanted to avoid all forms of mainstream media – ie no “screen time” for my kid. I envisioned my daughter spending her days frolicking in the forest while identifying mushrooms and molding moss into gender-neutral toys. But… life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it. Eventually her grandmother exposed my daughter to the world of cartoons because MOM YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME!  Once that seal was broken, my kid would never unsee the magic of animation. Before long “Curious George” crept into our lives like the sneaky little monkey he is.</p><p>A snowball effect occurred. The more my kid saw, the more she wanted to see and the more I enjoyed the moments of quiet as she catatonically stared into the neon abyss of “My Little Pony.” Of course there were rules and restrictions. I didn’t want her caught up in Disney’s masterfully marketed propaganda machine, but I did justify living with 45 “Frozen” dresses while still considering myself a decent parent. I had created a media bubble for my child and I was comfortable with – except for the occasional exposure to <a href="http://www.caillou.com/indexUS.shtml">Caillou</a>, who really is a little asshole.</p><p>One day I decided to show my daughter the music video for “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vjPBrBU-TM">Chandelier.”</a> I am obsessed with this video.  It features an 11-year old dancer, Maddie Ziegler, who I actually considered following on twitter - but I don’t BECAUSE I AM AN ADULT (and all she talks about is lip-gloss).  My daughter, the aspiring ballerina, loved the Chandelier video.  She watched it non-stop for two straight hours. Eventually I gave her my phone to continue practicing her dance moves while I did important “adult” things like staring at the wall wondering what my life had become.</p><p>Here is the thing with children today. I’m pretty sure they have been genetically modified to have an inbred knowledge of technology.  It’s like Apple programmed my daughter in utero to understand their products. She may not know how to read yet, but she manipulates apps like a Silicon Valley wizard. Since she had access to my phone, my kid eventually started searching through a variety of videos, including a charming one entitled “Pu$$y” by the Australian white-girl rapper, Iggy Azalea.</p><p>The lovely lyrics of this sweet tune snapped me out of my existential coma. I ran upstairs to retrieve my phone while attempting to explain that this particular song wasn’t appropriate for her young years, to which she replied, “who is that? I love her.” In an instant, life as I knew it was over.  By introducing her to “Chandelier” I had in fact opened Pandora’s box and initiated my child into the addictive world of pop culture. </p><p>She started hounding me to watch more Iggy Azalea.  I wanted to punch myself in the throat. How could I have been so naïve? Why didn’t I pop in a VHS of Isadora Duncan to familiarize my kid with the beauty of modern dance? Why Mother Gaia, why? Oh right. I watch videos on YouTube all the time.  As much as I abhor much of modern media, I am also a product of it. I am the MTV generation. I love “top 40” music. Hold me.</p><p>Pop music princesses soon occupied much of my daughter’s imagination. Katy Perry, Meghan Trainor, and Ariana Grande quickly replaced Baa Baa Black Sheep and Wheels on the Bus. Of course I was allowing all this to ensue -- but I am not Tipper Gore!  Despite being extremely concerned about how she’ll internalize pop-presentation and packaging, I’m not going to replicate the “Footloose” plot where I insist she can’t dance to that “devil music.”  </p><p>My daughter is at still too young to understand the meaning of the lyrics she is learning, but the messaging will undoubtedly have an unconscious impact. It may be subliminal, but the effects can be profound. I don’t want my daughter corrupted by the over-sexualization of the female identity. The tracks she likes are fun and catchy, but the thought of her looking up to these young women as role models gives me wrinkles, which obviously I can’t allow because then I will have zero value in society!</p><p>I decided we had to contextualize the music she was exploring. I believe she can like Taylor Swift and also be enthusiastic about women who make waves because of their intellectual impact. We watched Emma Watson’s UN speech on feminism. I read a Gloria Steinem essay for a bedtime story. We talked about Susan B. Anthony, and the women’s suffrage movement. I explained how Malala Yousafzai won the Noble Peace Prize.  My kid finally hit her breaking point when I tried to make her memorize Alice Walker’s poem “Our Martyr.” </p><p>Unless I move to an off-the-grid intentional community, change my name to Spirit Fire, and subsist solely on acorns, chances are my kid is going to be interested in mainstream culture. Yet I believe that doesn’t have to mean a cerebral death sentence. As long as I continue to balance her exposure with perspectives that honor the mind over thrusting one’s hips at an alarming speed, I think she’ll be okay. Besides, my favorite song when I was a kid was “<a href="http://bingenow.com/video?vidid=1903">Darling Nikki</a>” by Prince. Remember that lovely ballad to a woman where he describes their first interaction by moaning “I met her in a hotel lobby masturbating with a magazine…”? And I turned out okay, right?</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2014 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '1028547'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=1028547" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 11 Dec 2014 11:54:00 -0800 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 1028547 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Culture Culture pop culture children parenting Rick Ross as a Mirror for the Music Industry and Culture as a Whole http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/rick-ross-mirror-music-industry-and-culture-whole <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '828963'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=828963" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Ross took an accepted paradigm and pushed it too far, but his words are just an extreme reflection of what is tragically a cultural phenomenon. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/photo_-__2013-04-22_at_4.36.03_pm.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--> <p>When I first heard of Rick Ross's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/12/rick-ross-apologizes-for-pro-rape-lyrics_n_3072026.html" target="_hplink">now famous</a> line about slipping a girl some "Molly" and having sex with her when she "doesn't even know it," in the song "U.O.E.N.E.O.," I thought it was distasteful. But I also remember feeling the same way when as an 18-year old I heard Eminem's<a href="http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Kim-lyrics-Eminem/4432064E087ED29F482568FE00279E5B" target="_hplink"> lyrics </a>about killing his wife -- and he won a Grammy.</p><p>Many artists use the "first person" to reflect not themselves but others, or express ideas through persona. Embellishment or exaggeration does not necessarily mean that this is how an artist truly feels or acts. It seems that Eminem's creative brilliance has given him more of a pass to push these boundaries, or maybe it's that white men are able to get away with more? After all, Johhny Cash <a href="http://www.lyrics007.com/Johnny%20Cash%20Lyrics/Cocaine%20Blues%20Lyrics.html" target="_hplink">sang</a> "I took a shot of cocaine and shot my woman down" -- and he is a folk hero. But this issue is bigger than race alone. It is easy to criticize Ross because of his perceived poser identity. Ross may be a hijacked brand made possible by the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6dHqP9wc3k&amp;list=PL898CBDA06494D1B3&amp;index=1" target="_hplink">CIA</a> when they funded a covert war by trafficking cocaine into our country, and he may have disturbed many -- including me -- with his inappropriate lyric, but there is hypocrisy in wanting artists to have their "freedom of speech" while allowing some to get away with things we don't tolerate in the case of others.</p><p>Forcing an apology out of Ross does not address the pandemic of misogyny. This message of party culture and women as sexual objects is constantly perpetuated by the music business. Ross took an accepted paradigm and pushed it too far, but his words are just an extreme reflection of what is tragically a cultural phenomenon.</p><p>Rape culture and the exploitation of women is so deeply embedded in the media and in our psyches that executives who produced and vetted this song obviously also did not see an issue, and assumed it would just be another hit to make money from. It wasn't until feminists came out against the song that these men who previously thought it was acceptable had to backtrack. The solution is not just making each artist accountable but also the industrial music complex. The bar is set so low for pop culture -- and that is the choice of corporations that promote and fund what gets mass-produced. Yet, instead of muzzling one man, it is time to take a look at the business behind music and use this opportunity to remember that the point of art is to evoke emotions and elicit thought and discussion.</p><p>As <a href="https://twitter.com/HakimGreen" target="_hplink">Hakim Green</a> of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV2m36ACzxk" target="_hplink">Channel Live</a> says, "I am definitely not supporting an artist encouraging rape in his music... but is it okay to encourage murder? How come no one is protesting the open encouragement of murder in most of commercial music on the radio?" The gangster identity, owning guns, and shooting people has become completely accepted by mainstream hip-hop music and the people who make millions off it. This subject of violence may seem unique to hip-hop because you don't see Maroon 5 singing about intimidating people with their weapons, but in reality the undercurrent of violence permeates so much of our popular culture that we don't always recognize it unless it is spelled out for us. For example, as Green goes on to say, "The Star Spangled Banner is a poem written about the war of 1812. Our national anthem is about violence, and the <a href="http://www.usa-flag-site.org/song-lyrics/star-spangled-banner.shtml" target="_hplink">third stanza </a>is about what they would do with a slave that sides with enemy forces. 'No refuge could save the hireling and slave / from the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave' -- and that song represents our nation."</p><p>If we are going to hold artists accountable for their morality, then we have to hold all artists accountable, including the writer of the Star Spangled Banner. If you aren't troubled by a song sung in schools glorifying the horrific experience of American slavery, then how can you explain being troubled by one hip hop lyric? Hip-hop music, like all American modern pop music, is the offspring of a background of violence, materialism, and extreme sexism. We live in a nation that displaces art with corporatism and feigns to have ethical intentions. But behind the scenes, art programs are cut from schools under the pretense that our national budget can't afford it -- a budget that spends <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States" target="_hplink">$680 billion</a> on war every year. Yes, artists can be reckless with their work, but they are reflecting the zeitgeist we live in, not necessarily declaring it.</p><p>Art is a subjective experience, and it is important to allow for a variety of interpretations and not make assumptions on how things will be construed. For example, when <a href="http://www.nwaworld.com/" target="_hplink">NWA</a> came out with <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straight_Outta_Compton" target="_hplink">"Straight Outta Compton"</a> there was public outage, and a campaign was launched by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niggaz4Life" target="_hplink">Tipper Gore</a> to put warning labels on NWA recordings. Although many people were affronted by their lyrics, and thought them to be inappropriate for children, these same lyrics at that time taught a 9-year old white girl like me about police brutality and sparked an interest in social justice that stays with me to this day. Music ultimately tells a story, and "Straight Outta Compton" taught me about the oppression of black people in the inner city. Even though <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkQKOBiHyNU" target="_hplink">Dave Chappelle</a> pokes fun at white people learning about police brutality through rap, saying "apparently, the police have been beating up negroes like hotcakes," the narrative that was being told did ultimately expose an experience many were previously ignorant of. The <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiX7GTelTPM" target="_hplink">NWA lyrics</a> "Fuck tha police comin' straight from the underground. Young nigga got it bad cuz I'm brown. And not the other color so police think, they have the authority to kill a minority" spoke to a generation, and many tried to silence them.</p><p>The movement to censor artists like Rick Ross makes us no better than Tipper Gore trying to mute NWA. Rick Ross is no NWA, and his messaging is not something that is inspiring revolution -- but applying this same logic of quieting down what we find belligerent to say, <a href="http://deadprezblog.wordpress.com/" target="_hplink">Dead Prez</a>, would be an injustice to music. As much as I would never listen to music that I perceived as violent towards women, many might feel the same regarding aggression towards white people. But both messages have a right to exist, even if one of the two is less intellectually driven than the other. <br /><br />Just as music can have a positive impact on culture, it can also have a negative one. Yet is it worth losing all the good that music can accomplish because we fear the bad? In Plato's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Republic_(Plato)" target="_hplink">Republic</a> Socrates bans fiction and myth from his utopian society -- and many consider that to be an act of a totalitarian regime. Plato's logic, however, cannot be explained by claiming that he wasn't moved by art. He was a poet himself. Still, because he saw that art could be easily misunderstood and have a harmful impact on society, he felt that the risk of fiction and myth was too great. However, in the last few paragraphs of The Republic, featuring the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_Er" target="_hplink">"Myth of Er," </a>Plato's Socrates readmits the art of making fiction and myth as part of his utopian society, but only through the marriage of art and dialogue. Rather than trying to control art, perhaps we can recognize that all music, even music we find insulting, in an opportunity to talk to each other and our children about the greater issues in society that are the real problem.</p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '828963'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=828963" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 16:16:00 -0700 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 828963 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org News & Politics News & Politics rick ross Before I Had My First Child Nobody Told Me That Babies Are Boring http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/culture/i-had-my-first-child-nobody-told-me-babies-are-boring <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '784145'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=784145" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">I aspired to be the ultimate earth-mother-Gaia-worshipping-priestess from another dimension. </div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/mommy_iphone-620x412.jpg" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>When I first gave birth and brought my baby girl home, I aspired to be the ultimate earth-mother-Gaia-worshipping-priestess from another dimension. Those first few weeks with my child I thought I had transcended all trivialities and was officially crowned the “New Age Queen of the Now.” I was so present in the moment, I put Buddhist monks to shame. Absolutely enthralled by my child, I watched her sleep for hours, finding peace in the sound of her breath. I avoided my phone and computer, and arrogantly decided everyone else was merely living a devastating life of distraction. The rest of humanity could be consumed with their technology and gadgets, but I had moved on.</p><p>A few weeks later, however, I discovered something no one ever warned me about: Babies are pretty freaking boring.</p><p>Despite my initial moral superiority, I looked longingly at my phone across the room, yearning to caress it. I was afraid that exposure to my phone’s evil waves would seep into my baby’s brain (even though men have them nestled in their pockets next to their precious packages all day), but the idea of interacting with my phone became more compelling by the day. There’s a whole universe inside there. Articles to read, seeing how many people liked my status update, friends to talk to, one more time with that status update, and Twitter feeds from celebrities to make me feel inadequate. Parenting can be isolating, and monotonous, and lonely, and monotonous. My phone is my connection to the outside world, and it was too hard to abandon.</p><p>Eventually I caved, and my relationship with my phone became a part of my relationship with my child. When breast-feeding the milk-sucking vampire indefinitely suctioned to my nipple for hours, I looked at pictures of my ex getting chubby and bald. After two jaded hours of pushing her on the stupid swing, and saying “yes, that is a plane” and “the birdies do fly,” I also listened to podcasts deluding me into feeling that I was part of an actual adult conversation. While endlessly rocking her to sleep, I could listen to Radiohead and drown out the gut-wrenching soulless rendition of “Wheels on the Bus” — the lullaby version. At any moment I could take 10,000 pictures of her and of course a few selfies of me because my hair has been looking good lately.</p><div data-toggle-group="story-13181345"><p>When my baby became a talking toddler, I learned the next rule the parenting books neglected to mention: Toddlers are really annoying. They are unreasonable, demanding and relentless, and once they start talking, they never shut up. They also have no sense of time. My phone allowed me to get lost in some article about “Girls” and Lena Dunham’s body, helping kill the urge to throw myself against a wall every time my kid takes 25 minutes to walk 10 feet.</p><p>But then I did the unthinkable: I let my daughter into the world of my phone. I remember once being judgmental of parents who let their kids watch movies in the car. I wondered, “Why can’t those kids just stare out the window and imagine like I did as a child?” But now I get it. It’s just easier to give your screaming kid a cartoon to watch, or gently push your phone in their face when they are being obnoxious at a restaurant (somehow she always ends up on the video of an <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4c_wI6kQyE">Indonesian baby</a> smoking cigarettes, but at least she is quiet).</p><p>The phone serves as both a diversion from my boredom, and a baby sitter for my kid when I don’t want to deal. Does this mean that I am a lazier, more impatient parent than my mother who didn’t have an iPhone as pacifier? Yeah. It probably does. Yet I am also pretty convinced that if cavemen had iPhones, they wouldn’t have been so “one with nature” either. The seduction of the phone is hard to resist; our digital culture is one of immediacy and constant technological stimulus.  The phone taps into, and superficially satisfies, very primal needs in all of us. The desire to feel connected to others and the fear of dealing with the chatter of our own thoughts. I can’t remember the last time I took a dump, or waited in line for more than two minutes and wasn’t scrolling through my news feed just to avoid seeing where my mind will wander.</p><p>And so, I implemented a phone curfew. There are specific times, no matter what, when my phone is put away on silent. I am fully aware of the modern conundrum in even having to do that. The reality is that I will never get back these fleeting moments with my daughter, who is quite delightful even though she can’t tell the difference between a rhinoceros and hippopotamus. (I mean, come on, kid, one has a horn.) But addressing this addiction to my phone isn’t just about spending quality time with my child. It’s also about quality time with myself by developing a relationship with my phone that honors it as tool, but is not controlled by its temptress ways.  Unless the future turns out to be a Zombie Apocalypse, humanity is only going to create a deeper reliance on technology, new media and social networking.  Exposing my child to these elements of culture can’t be avoided, but I realize must be done with care and intentionality. Being a parent doesn’t mean shutting out the world; it means teaching your children to navigate within it.  Even if that results in your kid becoming a narcissist from looking at too many videos of themselves.</p></div><p> </p> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2013 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '784145'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=784145" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 27 Jan 2013 11:46:00 -0800 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 784145 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Culture Culture parenting How Better Parenting Could Produce Fewer Greedy Bankers and More People Who Care About the Future of the Earth http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/story/152563/how_better_parenting_could_produce_fewer_greedy_bankers_and_more_people_who_care_about_the_future_of_the_earth <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '667893'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=667893" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Avoiding the &quot;mommy and daddy&quot; issues that lead to retail therapy and consumerism, changing how we raise our children could nurture a generation that will actualize sustainability.</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>Here is a theory: everyone who works for Wall Street has serious mommy and daddy issues. Actually, why not extend that to everyone who supports our current corporatized economic system? Think about it. If we didn't spend our money filling the hole in our souls with retail therapy and went to actual therapy instead, we wouldn't be living in a trashcan of a world. Maybe if we changed how we raised our children we could nurture a generation that would actualize true sustainability and economic rationality. Picture the possibility of transforming the world through parenting our kids in a way that prioritizes peace over power, longevity over profit, community over greed. And maybe those children of the future could be wearing those spiffy silver space suits made from recycled tinfoil.</p> <p>Let's take a minute to really look at how our current system works. Companies make products, but in order for a company to make money they have to stay competitive with the other companies who make the same products. The way they do that is by cutting cost at every possible juncture. They use the cheapest stuff they can get away with and pay people as little as possible, so you end up buying crap made by people who are paid crap. And rather than lose you as a customer, the crap you buy is built to last only the least amount of time you will tolerate and still buy more. I mean I love children, but they are really horrible at sewing because my H&amp;M dress doesn't last more than one washing before it starts coming apart.</p> <p>So quality, sustainability, and longevity are enemies to corporate America. All Wall Street cares about is the bottom line because they have fiduciary responsibility to their investors to prioritize profit over the health of the earth and the people on it. Considering we are currently living on a planet with FINITE resources this is a serious problem. I don't know about you, but I didn't buy a timeshare on Mars, and I think it would be a better idea to actually respect the resources we have left.</p> <p>So the question is why? Why is money more important then our survival?</p> <p>My answer is bad parenting. The human race is sprinting towards its own destruction because we think that money will make us feel better about our mommy and daddy never loving us enough or teaching us how to love ourselves. It is not your mom and dad's fault, or even their parents'. We are talking about generations of people who have not figured out that nothing will make you feel emotionally fulfilled if you are not genuinely emotionally fulfilled on your own. Maybe the 99% of us so blindly support the 1% because we spend our adult lives resenting our parents and trying to find happiness through material possessions, power over others, success in our jobs, and looking at pictures of each other's vacations on Facebook.</p> <p>Think of how many parents work 80 hours a week to give their children everything when all their kids really want is their time and attention. Of course this is a conundrum because without money you can't pay for your kids' education, and without an education your kids can't get a good job, and without a good job your kids can't make money. We are doing our best to provide for ourselves and our children in this competitive world, but the sad part is that it may all be for nothing. Maybe it doesn't matter what college you go to or if you are a successful Day Trader - if you can't experience true intimacy. Is a life of excess any better than a life of struggle if you don't know what love is?</p> <p>When you look at pictures of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, don't they look like they are happy? Okay, fine, not when they are being maced, beaten, and arrested, but when they are speaking their minds and hearts about wanting to live in a different world. These people realize something fundamental and profound that is worth hearing even if the mainstream media refuses to care. The way were are living makes no sense and it is more reasonable to sleep on the streets and play the Djembe drum then to continue supporting a system that is cannibalizing itself. In order for us to change the world, we first have to change how we parent our children and breed more crazy hippies who take to the streets and demand a better future.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Toni Nagy writes for the blog <a href="http://tonibologna.com/">tonibologna.com</a>, an amazing blog about Toni Nagy. Toni went to Sarah Lawrence College and got on the pre-professional track of making tons of money by majoring in philosophy and dance. She currently lives in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire where she is raising hell and her baby. She has written many text messages, is known to respond to most emails, and has been published by <a href="http://salon.com">Salon.com</a> </div></div></div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2011 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '667893'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=667893" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 08:00:01 -0700 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 667893 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org News & Politics Sex & Relationships Economy corporations parenting consumerism economy future sustainability wall street reform retail therapy greed rationality occupy wall street What Do You Do When Your Best Friend Is Dating Someone Who Is Obviously Going to Ruin His or Her Life? http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org/story/150717/what_do_you_do_when_your_best_friend_is_dating_someone_who_is_obviously_going_to_ruin_his_or_her_life <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '666072'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=666072" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">How do you protect your friend by helping her see the truth about her soul-sucking mate?</div></div></div> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg" alt="" /></div></div></div> <!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p>One of life's unfortunate dilemmas arises when someone you love, your best friend even, is dating a complete and utter douche. How do you handle this? How do you protect your friend by helping her see the truth about her soul-sucking mate, without making her defensive and more entangled with the douche?<br /><br /> What is a douche, exactly? Well every douche, of course, is a douche in his or her special way, but there are many recognizable traits of this species. A douche loves his power over you, more than loving you. A douche will leave you stranded on your birthday, flirt with people in front of you, doesn't want to be in a relationship but doesn't want you to move on, puts you down in public, abandons you when you need him most, and feeds off your heart. He will exploit your weakness of loving him, and because you keep coming back for more, he never has to change.<br /><br /> Now, a douche is different than a jerk. In a relationship, everyone can be a jerk. No coupling is perfect. But a relationship with a douche is a scenario far more toxic then the expected drama of normal coupling. Like the act of douching, a douche is someone who creates more bacteria, irritation, inflammation, and infection then it's worth.<br /><br /> One big challenge in this situation is accepting that your friend is not an innocent in this equation. She is allowing herself to be undervalued, and here is where the paradox lies: she knows she is dating a douche, but something about that person is hard to let go of. In a healthy relationship, the power dynamic shifts back and forth between vulnerable and dominant. But when dating a douche, you often feel manipulated, which can render you weak and creates a self-destructive pattern. You have to face the fact: your friend is possessed by a fierce force: it's the inexplicable power of attraction...for better or for worse.<br /><br /> The tricky part of your friend's douche-dating is finding a strategy to encourage him or her to accept reality without being too pushy. If you come off as overly judgmental, you might lose her forever to the tentacles of her demon lover. Though this person is your best friend, he or she still has an ego to contend with, and no one wants to be seen as emotionally anemic. Despite being accustomed to sharing things so intimate it would make that fly on the wall blush, you can't just declare how you think her mate sucks. When you tell someone how to feel, they often feel criticized.<br /><br /> If your friend asks for your opinion, you have to be as gentle as a proctologist when revealing your views. Of course it is important to be honest, but you are not dealing with a rational person. It is wise to hold in any irrevocable bashing of her beloved like a fart in an elevator. You can't take it back once you let it out. The best tactic is to repeat the insanity she tells you with a sincere non-ironic tone. This way, she can hear the lunacy for herself without having to taste your disapproval.<br /><br /> Chances are, your friend is going to complain about the douche-bag nonstop, which of course gets tiresome. You have to remember, your friend is taking crazy pills, and you will have the same conversation over and over and over again, making you reflect on the definition of insanity while staring at the ceiling with your mouth open. They need you to listen to them, because eventually they will begin to bore themselves.<br /><br /> Although the toxicity of your friend's relationship may be as obvious to you as fake tits, it will take time for him to feel it out for himself. It is important to remain as his confidante even though you want to shake him like a British nanny would. You have to trust that he will return to his senses and realize that the relationship is depleting his life force. And if you find yourself about to implode from the chaotic craziness of it all, remember that you too were probably once seduced by a douche.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Toni Nagy is a freelance writer living in Vermont. </div></div></div> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2011 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '666072'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=666072" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 22 Apr 2011 21:00:01 -0700 Toni Nagy, AlterNet 666072 at http://speakeasyblogs.alternet.org Sex & Relationships Sex & Relationships dating love romance best friend break up