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My first "real" job I had (made all the more real by its lack of polyester uniform and matching visor and sturdy, black work shoes with heavy traction) was at a local bookstore owned by two pioneering women, one of whom was a graduate of women's studies. The shelves were stocked to well-over capacity with women's history, feminist, multi-cultural, and self-help books, along with our meat-and -potatoes, mass market trade fictions. In our small town, there wasn't a high calling for anything outside top-fiction and children's genres, but we made a go of it. I had all the books on women's issues I could eat, and could recite by the page sections from The Boston Women's Health Collective's famous book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, in addition to being inordinately well-versed in Ina May Gatskin's Spiritual Midwifery. I read Clarrisa Pinkola Estez' Women Who Run With the Wolves when we had a backlog of special orders for the title, and spent my down-time with my nose in Susan Fauldi's Backlash. I was so, so poor in those days, but was surrounded with a wealth of books to feed my early feminist ideals. Ahh, those were the days.  

The one drawback to my bookstore job was a regular customer who made the Women's Special Interest isles his own personal meat-market. Don't get me wrong; he did buy books; stacks upon stacks of books pertaining to women's issues, books he'd pull from our shelves and books he'd special order. Its just that if (and that's a pretty big if) he read any of the books he purchased, he certainly didn't apply any of the feminist messages to his own interactions with women.



 
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Women at Adolf Koch’s socialist body culture school, which drew on Reich’s ideas.
As a child of the 70's, I grew up right along-side the feminist movement. Feminism was in its second wave at that time, a new enthusiasm for the politics of that generation's grandmothers. In the early sixties, however,  
activists supporting women's rights were not so much standing on the shoulders suffragettes, who overturned legal obstacles making women's voting rights and property rights, as they were radicalizing their own ideals; namely reproductive rights and wage-equality in the workplace.  In 1967, San Fransisco's Haight-Ashbury district was rushed by 100,000 hippies during what was referred to as, "The Summer of Love," a period of time that can only truly be measured by the amount of LSD-25 dissolved under the tongue and the number of sexual encounters enjoyed during the season of free love. Occurring alongside the hippie movement of the sixties, new attitudes towards sexuality created a climate of accepted sexual freedom within the overlap of the two groups, and many women and men entered into a new-found open-market for satiating the senses. Ahhhh, orgies. In for a penny, in for a pound, I always say. 

My parents didn't meet in a joint-circle on the Haight, nor did either dance to keep the music out of their eyes at Woodstock. They met in small-town Kelso, Washington, right across the street from the old west Kelso brothel, where my father was protesting. He'd had his fill of filling his sexual appetites and of hallucinagens, and at that time was filled with a new high, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Every day, he'd march, blazing a sign that read, "Where are YOU going to spend ETERNITY?" My mother tells me that every day when she drove past his one-man march, she'd roll her eyes and think, "God! I f***ing hate that guy!"  At some point, they must have found common ground, because (as my mother tells it) the next thing she knew, she was pregnant with twin babies and married to my father and a living with a bunch of crazy Holy Roller in a Jesus Commune.


 
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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."  


 
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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.



 
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.