SO HAPPY

September 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

I am officially a Grinnell Sexual Health Information Center Peer Counselor (wow what a fucking mouthful!). Needless to say, I am super pumped, and ready to share my new knowledge on sexual health with you allllllllllllllllllll.

Grinnell Fun Facts

August 23, 2009 § 2 Comments

Since I haven’t been doing anything remotely intellectual for orientation, this is going to be a baby post. Here are some funny facts I learned about Grinnell campus:

  1. Formerly the section of campus where only women lived, South campus has some pretty hysterical architectural differences from all of the other sections. For example, the loggias (covered walkways) are not open air like the all the others on campus. They have beautiful glass windows. Know why? Because women should never have to walk in the cold Iowa winters. Haha, guess what. No one should have to do that. Ever.
  2. All of the kitchens on South campus come equipped with ironing boards. For us womenfolk to do the ironing.
  3. Just learned this one, it may be my favorite so far: the Loose dorm (holla!) was notoriously the hall for “loose women” because the window locks are the easiest to break for late night collegiate trysts.

I found those details pretty amusing when I first heard them, I really hope you enjoyed!

Abstinence-only sex eating education

July 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

ab-only-lunchNot surprisingly, The Onion is still riotously hilarious: Study: Abstinence-Only Lunch Programs Ineffective At Combating Teen Obesity.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the findings could adversely affect federal funding for all programs that tell kids “lunch is worth waiting for.”

“There’s no evidence to suggest that instructing teens not to chew, swallow, or even think about food is actually going to stop them from eating,” Sebelius told reporters. “Let’s face it: Kids are already eating. And not only during lunchtime. They’re eating after school, at the mall, in their parents’ basements. Pretending like it’s not happening isn’t going to make it go away.”

“After all, they’re teenagers,” Sebelius continued. “Eating is practically the only thing on their minds.”

…Perhaps more troubling, students who completed the abstinence-only program were reportedly unable to answer the simplest questions about their own digestive systems, and some as old as 17 still believed they could catch high blood pressure from their very first Snickers bar.

…”I’m never ever going to eat, because eating is wrong, and I’m worth more than a chicken sandwich with asparagus and rice pilaf,” Woodbridge seventh-grader Tracey Holmes said. “I heard Jennifer Hines eats all the time, like 50 times a day. I heard she eats all her ice cream upside-down, though, so she doesn’t get fat. That’s how it works.”

“It’s really hard, though,” Holmes added. “I get so hungry sometimes. Especially after hours and hours of unprotected sex.”

Also worth a read: Newlyweds Regret Saving Sex For Marriage and Thousands Of High-School Sweethearts Prepare For Post-Graduation Breakup.

(Via)

On Celebrations, On Difference

July 22, 2009 § 2 Comments

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting Provincetown, a small beachside town in Cape Cod, MA that has a really bustling queer scene. Though I wasn’t there during their annual celebration, Carnivale, I have been to P-Town in the past during that festive week. Individuals flaunt deliciously glamorous drag costumes, men walk around naked promoting various community theater ventures, tourists can be seen hugging the huge Y-shaped statues that read ‘Discriminate’ down the side. My gut reaction to Carnivale has always been a positive one; I think it’s great that individuals who might normally feel like outsiders have a safe space to show that they love who they are. Expression and pride are wonderful things that I wholeheartedly support. But something about celebrations like Carnivale — Earth Day, the Gay Pride Parade, Black History Month, Women’s History Month — always give me pause. I just can’t get over the feeling that when we designate something as a a celebration of difference or our ideals, we actually end up creating a vacuum that ignores some of the bigger complexities at hand. I think that the celebratory weeks, days, and months that spot our calendars can actually work to stunt dialogue; we devote a certain chunk of time to an issue and then feel okay about ignoring it for the other 364 days, 51 weeks, or 11 months. This is not to say that I think we should do away with any of those aforementioned celebrations. I just don’t really know why we can’t make the celebration permanent. Why isn’t every day an affirmation of the importance of women, transgendered individuals, immigrants, homosexuals, our earth?

One of my biggest confusions pertaining to Carnivale is the very common practice of posing for photographs with individuals dressed in drag. When I was younger, I loved finding the most outrageous looking drag queens, sidling up to them, and getting a ‘hilarious’ snapshot. And now I look at these pictures and sort of cringe, without even knowing why. The strangers in these pictures totally agreed to be in them; indeed, they were standing in the middle of the street precisely to be noticed, photographed, and talked about. And that’s obviously a personal decision that I respect entirely. Maybe it just complicates my idea of pride — pride in the genders, races, religions, and isms we all align ourselves with. I am proud of being a woman! I am actively trying to create a world for myself that includes a lot of consideration for the condition of my sisters, my femininity. Should I put on my most womanly (?) outfit and head to the streets to pose with strangers? Should I vamp up my feminism in March to correspond with Women’s History Month? I genuinely don’t know the answers to these questions. What are your thoughts?

Two P-Towners, me, my rabid ginger afro, my friend Molly.

Two P-Towners, me, my rabid ginger afro, my friend Molly.

What do you think?

June 2, 2009 § 2 Comments

I recently got accepted into next year’s Gender Studies Round Table Leadership Program at my school. The group consists of 15 – 20 high school girls and five female teachers. It’s going to be an intensive three-day program focusing on leadership skills and gender issues relevant to us as a group. The three days aren’t strictly planned out, so today we had an hour-long meeting to discuss what issues were most important to to us.

Some of them were:

  • Women in positions of leadership
  • Sexuality (being a gay man vs. being a lesbian)
  • Sexual empowerment and how it’s definition changes for genders
  • The catty high school girl stereotype
  • Women in positions of leadership throughout history (specifically women of color)

I also would be really interested in discussing the “hook-up culture” that adults are so terrified of, domestic abuse, and how and why people are afraid of calling themselves feminists.

But what about you? Can you think of any more topics or issues that you feel would be beneficial for a group of high school girls to explore?

Oh, and one last thing: the last question our teachers posed to us at the end of the meeting was, “If this were a leadership program strictly for boys and not girls, what would be different about it?”

He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut…

May 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

Jessica Valenti, an incredible author on dissecting gender binaries and current day feminism, is doing a reading at Bluestockings, (172 Allen st), this Sunday. This will be a great night, I hope to see some of you there!

INFO:
Sunday, May 17th @ 7PM – Free
Reading: Jessica Valenti “The Purity Myth”
American culture is plagued with concerns about the sexual purity of young women. Please join Jessica Valenti in a reading and discussion of her new book “The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women,” in which she brings the full powers of her wit and intelligence to a critique of the problematic cultural appraisal of girls and women based on their sexual worth. Valenti is also the author of “Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters” and “He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut…and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know.”

Bluestockings is my favorite place in New York. Here is their mission statement, taken from their website:

Bluestockings is a radical bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Through words, art, food, activism, education, and community, we strive to create a space that welcomes and empowers all people. We actively support movements that challenge hierarchy and all systems of oppression, including but not limited to patriarchy, heterosexism, the gender binary, white supremacy and classism, within society as well as our own movements. We seek to make our space and resources available to such movements for meetings, events, and research. Additionally, we offer educational programming that promotes centered, strategic, and visionary thinking, towards the realization of a society that is infinitely creative, truly democratic, equitable, ecological, and free.

Love Kyla

Feminist Fun With Youtube

May 1, 2009 § 2 Comments

I don’t know about y’all, but for me it’s been a loooong week. What better to do than to kick back and relax with a sampling of my favorite spoken word Youtube videos?

Cocky by Julia Serano – “My penis is the loose thread that unravels the gender of everyone around me.”

What We Deserve by Sonya Renee – I get chills every single time I watch this.

Bi-Racial Hair by Zora Howard - Shira and I went to middle school with this incredible artist. Video embedding has been disabled, but go watch it. Go. It’s lovely.

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