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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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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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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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***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.