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Oh, waning crescent moon... why must I have this gargantuan pimple on my nose? Soon I will rest in your luteal darkness and wrap myself in introspect. Bring chocolate.
 
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These four beautiful women challenge the objectification of their adolescent bodies at the 2013 Brave New Voices poetry slam in Washington DC. During the middle ages, the only option a woman had for removing herself from the collective rape culture is to give up her dowry to the Catholic Church and become a nun, ashewing any and all evidence of their sexuality and committing to a life of poverty and powerlessness behind the veil.

Today, while women still struggle with marginalization and objectification from a young safe, the teens in this video step into their power as women and declare themselves to be "mother-fucking monsters."  


 
Every year in late fall, we bundle up in our warmer clothes and have generally gotten over the idea that we have to wear socks.  It's cold outside, brisk, I'd say, and the pleasurable crunch of rust-colored leaves sounds beneath our feet. 

Our lives have fallen into a predictable order; the spontaneousness of summer gone, and for those of us who are blessed to have a woodstove, we warm our damp socks by the fire, wiggling our toes as we watch ribbons of steam rise from or feet.

 
And we look ahead to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving! A wonderful celebration of remembering the many blessings in our lives, spent in the company of family and close friends around the table; at its center, a Thanksgiving turkey, moist and delicious. (And hopefully still hot when Grandpa Don finishes carving it.)

This year, around the dinner table, we've picked up the refrain from last year's Thanksgiving. We're still singing about Black Friday; how every year it cut in a little closer to family time, and somebody has to wash Grandma Vi's china. And Lord knows, that football game isn't going to watch itself. 

But there's always that one... that ONE, who silently slips away from the unified grumbling, unnoticed, to begin leafing through the local newspaper, skillfully stalking her prey; the elusive Black Friday sale


 
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Feminism isn’t NICE.

There is no way in polite society I can discuss pro-feminist issues like a lady.

Imagine this scenario: a church potluck; families in their Sunday best, ignoring the slight discomfort of their full bellies , reclining, slightly in their folding chairs around long, out-dated banquet tables… to your left, Aunt Irma is starting to nod-off… on right side, a tired mother, holding a baby on her lap, watching lazily, as he throws his whole body weight into a failed grab for the food on her plate… children, running off their spare energy. The pastor has just given a very thought-provoking message on the blessings of tithing, and you feel inspired to study out the scriptures he used and increase your giving.

Just then, as you least suspect it, that crazy redhead across the table from you (that would be me) leans in your direction and says in a loud voice,

“Did you know that so-and-so’s daughter was acquaintance raped while walking back from the campus library last Wednesday? I understand she reported it to campus security, but after taking her report, she’s been on the receiving end of some pretty abusive comments and slut-shaming. I’m worried.  We should get involved!”

You won’t need to stretch yourself to imagine the abrupt silence that would follow.



 
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***WARNING POSSIBLE TRIGGERS***


Thanksgiving is one of those days that for many, well, sucks.

For victims of domestic violence, rather than being a day in which we're reminded of all we have to be grateful for, it's a day of remembering all that we've lost. Like most survivors of spousal abuse, my husband increased his control over me by the subtle, systematic dismantling of my relationships. He was, crafty, that one. It began with a series of discreet phone calls with my twin brother, inquiring, delicately, if I had any mental illness in my past that he should be aware of. Nothing wrong here, right? Except that early on in our relationship, I disclosed to him that I'd taken anti-depressants, so clearly, he was in the know (on both occasions I was postpartum with a colicky baby). The hesitant, almost awkward inquiry did exactly as it was intended to do; create an atmosphere of concern for my well-being and solidarity between my husband and brother, leaving me on the outside, looking in. Private details of my depression were discussed in secret between the two, and then my brother unknowingly disclosed his concern for me during that time, my husband collected an arsenal of negative commentary to be used against me in the pursuit of crazy-making.



 
Pictureimage from http://www.goldieblox.com
The launch of a Youtube video highjacks Beastie Boys hit song, “Girls,” and turning it into an anthem for young feminists. The video  promoting the Feminist toy company, GoldieBlox, which aspires to reclaim the traditionally male-dominated fields of interest in math and science and overcome antiquated (and inaccurate) stereotypes that limit girls to playing house.

GoldieBlox was conceived by Debbie Sterling, the founder and engineer of the company, who began by drawing a series of illustrations with strong characters, reminiscent of  Pippie Longstocking  or Punky Brewster. The girls’ toy line (while admittedly, bathed in the soft hues of pink and lavender) consists of building games with  her character, Goldie, figurines and expansion packs with a creative focus of inspiring girls to become future engineers and a small clothing line with the slogan, “More than just a princess” emblazed across the front.


Pictureimage from www.goldieblox.com/pages/about‎
The company creatively avoids marginalization in their advertising by depicting girls outside the golden Caucasian norm by representing little girls of diverse ethnicity, furthering GoldieBlox’s confrontation of the limits we, as a culture, put on those of us existing outside the realm of white, male entitlement. 

I sense a Princess revolution.


 
When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, “What will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? What comes next? Oh right, will I be rich?” WhichWhen I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, “What will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? What comes next? Oh right, will I be rich?” Which is almost pretty depending on where you shop. And the pretty question infects from conception, passing blood and breath into cells. The word hangs from our mothers' hearts in a shrill fluorescent floodlight of worry.


 is almost pretty depending on where you shop. And the pretty question infects from conception, passing blood and breath into cells. The word hangs from our mothers' hearts in a shrill fluorescent floodlight of worry.


 
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I admit that I may have a problem.

Let me first speak in defense of myself... I have had a pretty tough go of things when it comes to relationships. My last relationship left me somewhat bruised and in need of a lot of therapy. I warm up slowly to new people; its only because I can't look you in the eyes that I'm able to write posts on my experiences of spousal abuse that I am able to click "publish." 

That being said, I'm having a deeply satisfying love affair with my kombucha mother SCOBY, Beatrice. It's not what you think; I'm not going to be petitioning the courts to legally declare my love for her, nor are we going to enter into a commitment ceremony. I just love her. She’s really good for me.



 
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I started Naked Consciousness because I wanted to create a forum in which I could share my journey from living in an abusive relationship to freeing myself and finding healing.

I write from a Christian feminist perception... That may seem like a contradiction in terms, but nothing could be farther from the truth. God designed women to have shared value with men. When our Father created mankind, it was in His image. Just as the holy trinity is made up of three parts, existing simultaneously as separate individually and as a whole being, God poured not only his male, but female nature as well into Adam during his creation. In Jewish tradition, the Holy Spirit has always been referred to in the feminine form. As a co-existent being with the Father and the Son,  the feminine nature of God is not cancelled out, but ratified as one of the beautiful facets of the Godhead.  In the genesis of womankind, the Father put Adam into a deep sleep and pulled from him a rib (translated from the original Hebrew as meaning, more accurately half of him;) pulling out the feminine nature of Adam and creating the new, feminine gender. The female form was NOT a separate being, but was designed, like the Trinity, to co-exist as mankind. The female gender was pulled from Adam because God the Father saw that it was not good that Adam was alone. 



 
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THIS is what a feminist looks like! (Behold the spit bubble on his tongue... THAT'S a feminist guy thing.)
I had fun taking pictures of my little guy, Julian today. Its so great that at six, he's able to break feminism down to fit his child-size understanding: things should be FAIR. He takes his feminism to school with him on the playground when he takes turns pushing his best friend, Alexandra, on the swings. They play together every day at recess, because they share a mutual desire to be treated with kindness. When Alexandra first came into his life, he was enchanted. When I asked him to describe her to me, he went all dreamy, and said, “She has a very, very beautiful heart. And, oh! Mama, she’s so kind!”

Julian is starting to become aware that because his best friend is a girl, some of the boys talk over her or push past her to the front of the line, but they don’t do that to him. Its difficult for me as a feminist to avoid using phrases like, “male entitlement,” which, as a mama, leave a bad taste in my mouth; as if saying them in some way indicates an inherent evil in my sons. Instead, I let my son lead, giving him the opportunity to understand his feelings about how Alexandra is treated differently. I see him struggle with anger in defense of his female friend. He makes declarative statements about how he honors her as a woman-child; he stands straight as his resolve to protect her right to be equal… for things to be fair. 


 
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***WARNING- POSSIBLE TRIGGERS***

I just finished reading The Yellow Wallpaper for a discussion in a feminist book club I just joined. I thought it would be so easy; there was a link for a free, downloadable PDF available through the Gutenberg Project, so I wouldn’t even have to shell out a few bucks, or worse, have to special order it after waiting until the last minute. The next day, I walked into my local free book exchange, and found a copy. The pages were still crisp and everything. I thought, “Score!” Since it was very short, only thirty-six pages, (not counting the afterward) I was able to off reading it in favor of another book I was excited to start. Less than an hour after I optimistically turned the first pages, I had reached the end.

I HATED that book.

I wanted to throw it across the room. I might still do it. Every time the husband, John, dismissed the wife (did she even HAVE a name? I’m assuming her personal worth does not necessitate an identifying factor, like a NAME) I had to use my utmost self-control and not rip the damn thing in half. My self-control was ADMIRABLE, above all things. NOBODY. GOT. HURT.



 
 
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I used to manage a quilting store, and I was fired for being a victim of domestic violence. WORSE, when I added my time with them to my employment experience on my resume when looking for a new job, the owner pretended she had no idea who I was when a prospective employer called for a reference. I helped build that store from the ground up, and the store's reputation fro being a fun, quirky place to shop was due to me. Its important to have laws that protect victims of domestic violence from job loss, but without the financial resources, family support, and a safe home environment free of abuse, taking legal action against a former employer who unlawfully fired a domestic violence victim is unlikely. 


 
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This free i-phone app was released in June of this year. Pink, hairless, and infantile, the character, Happy, seeks to liberate women from their sexual inhibitions by instructing them in techniques on female masturbation. Are women really so uncomfortable with their sexuality that they need a silly cartoon puss to make them feel safe "down there?" In the early days of women's liberation, masturbation apps were more commonly referred to as "examining-one's-one-vagina-in-the-company-of-other-women-with-your-panties-down-your-ankles-and-a-mirror-aimed-up-your-skirt." But, in an age where most women avoid seeing themselves fully undressed in a mirror without sucking in their abs, I begrudgingly look the other way.
http://www.happyplaytime.com/

 
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A woman who identified herself as Sarieah holds her daughter Zakiaya during the Rainbow Family peace gathering in Modoc National Forest, Calif. Photo by AP Photo
As a  Rainbow Family drop-out, I’ve recently experienced a personal exodus from a culture who’s primary focus lays on loving one another as a unit, sharing compassion despite differences, and practicing shanti sena peace keeping practices during the occasional conflict large enough to effect the flow of harmonious living.  Our interdependent, communal lifestyle and global thinking put us in a corner where we lived an idealized Utopian life, but isolated from mainstream society, whom we referred to as “Babylon.”

Even hidden away in our self imposed isolation, we find ourselves barraged with whispers of political conspiracies. Rumors abound; even in the woods, word of government-created diseases, government-forced sterilization delivered via genetically modified foods and chemtrails, governmentally funded interviews of grieving family members following school shootings staged by paid actors, government surveillance of its citizens accessed through social media, and of our government staging 9/11 as the needed preface to the war that followed.

And so, the issue of  keeping guns has worked its way, slowly, slowly, to the forefront of our minds, until it can no longer be ignored, challenging our internal concepts of  self-image. The issue is a slippery one.