Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Playwriting Assignment

Last night we were told to bring in a strong desire for a character.  A sentence.  Ripped out of our journals. We read them out loud.  Mine was: "to leave a marriage."  Something I've realized lately, it's probably a good thing I'm not in a relationship right now because I keep writing about things such as this.  We kept going around the room, reading our statements.  The one that stood out to me (of course) was: "To lose her virginity."

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Bells went off in my head and I approached the student after class and explained to her how I'm writing about that theme in one of my play's.  We spoke some more and she told me the play she read that inspired her to write that down.  It's called BOOM by Peter Sinn Nachtirieb.  Guess I have some more research ahead of me!

If anyone has read that play or any other one's that resemble this theme, please let me know!

Thank you.

Lately I've been going through a huge Ani DiFranco phase

If you don't know this song, listen to it please. It describes so much of the complexities of what it means to be a woman today. More on this later.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What if Freud had focused on the Antigone complex versus the Oedipus complex?

This question came up at the dinner table tonight, and I can't stop thinking about it. I asked my playwriting teacher who had said that, and of course it was Judith Butler! Ladies and gentleman, the next book on my reading list:

First I am planning on reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf, which I am more than excited about. Saw the play at Yale last semester and again at Classic Stage Company this month. Fell absolutely in love with the story, which Sarah Ruhl pretty much just took Virginia Woolf's language and put it on stage. So much gender topics flowing throughout it though, I cannot wait to sit down and read it!

Now, I haven't seen the film of it either, but have heard it's worth watching as well.

If anyone else has read or seen Orlando, I would love to talk to you about it.

Also, what do you think of the Antigone complex versus the Oedipus complex?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Back To The Virginity Myth

So I was just watching Grey's Anatomy with one of my best friends, Caitlin, who is in love with the show. Me on the other hand, has barely watched it since its first season.  However I became very intrigued when I caught this last segment of it.  Tune it at 39:30  http://www.hulu.com/watch/183887/greys-anatomy-superfreak

It says so much about our pre-constructed notions of what it means to be a virgin today, to be 28 and still be a virgin.  How there's "a lot of shame" that goes into it, and that we all have our secrets.  So many women don't want to acknowledge the fact that they are still virgins, afraid of what people will think and how their views will be shifted.

Referring back to my blog "Turning in the "V Card" And What It Means To Be A Virgin In Today's Modern Society," I too felt like that before.  I would hide the fact from men that I was a virgin until it was mid hook up and then I decided we should be clear about one thing.  Their reactions all varied so incredibly much.  Some were in shock, "No, you can't be!"  Others were calm, "I think that's really great that you're choosing to wait."  My favorite by far was the one who said, "I didn't know they made those anymore."  Yeah.  Needless to say that relationship didn't pursue after that.

And let me just say at this point that I am addressing my own personal experiences with virginity.  There is so much area that is not being covered (i.e. with people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender) but this is what I know as a single straight woman and I would hate to declare something invalid regarding other people's sexual escapades.  I would love to get some feedback however, as to what others may think regarding what being a virgin means to other sexual orientations, whatever they may be!

With myself, however, I have had numerous encounters with men and their views of virginity.  Many of which were painful, and probably why I chose to hide the fact that I was a virgin from people.  Also, I didn't feel it was everyone's business to know how many people I had slept with.  There were two guys right in a row that I dated who had slept with over 60 people (mind you, these were 22/23 year old men).  And when asked how many people I had been with and the number zero came out of my mouth, the looks on their faces made me feel so ashamed.  The instant judgement that pursued, along with the series of questions they had.  "Why?"  "How come?"  etc.

Now I'm feeling a little like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City at the moment, sharing my past dating and sexual experiences, but I think these are valid points to make when addressing the topic of America's obsession with virginity.

What is up with the shame game of telling someone you're a virgin?  And then on the other side, there's those who are so incredibly proud of the fact they're maintaining their essence of purity that they throw themselves huge parties where they promise their fathers not to have sex until they are married.

This is even more relevant on shows such as Glee where one of the main characters last season was a member of the celibacy club in high school.  She ended up having sex and becoming pregnant, and her father practically disowned her for it all.  Again, I believe it is just going back to men's strange fasciation and obsession with virginity.  Why do fathers feel the need to protect their daughters from experiencing sex, and having them promise not to sleep with anyone until they're married?  Why don't sons do that for their mothers?  Doesn't that seem a little creepy to even wonder?  Maybe that's just me, but to have a son promise his mother that he's going to wait until he's married to have sex just leads me to think of the Oedipus complex.  But a daughter promising her father the same thing, it's viewed as appropriate or expected at times.  Because it's still typically the father that gives his daughter away at her wedding, as if he is passing her onto the next best thing.  This might be me going completely stereotypical feminist, but it's all about ownership with the woman.  The father has owned her for said plus years, and now her husband will own her for the rest of her life.  Again, trying not to be cynic, and not how I feel about all marriages, these are just thoughts.

How do we go from men who make women feel ashamed for their virginity to the extreme of making women feel like God's rejecting them if they do have sex?  Are we still allowing men to hold that much power over us?  Or is it the power of the woman and her sexual nature that is running the man?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dear Hate, Please Go Away. Love, Christine

Ever since the news regarding Tyler Clementi surfaced, I have not been able to let go of this aching feeling.  It's more than just my heart going out to those who feel lost, or have lost someone close to them because of hate crimes.  It's an overwhelming realization that we need to do something about it.  While I'm working on things in my head and trying to vocalize these thoughts lately, this is something I came up with to express how I feel:

The question I keep asking myself over and over again
In hopes to gain a better understanding of the world we live in
To educate myself on matters that don't seem plausible
Yet are happening more frequently everyday
The news keeps popping up with stories
NPR blasts through my computer
I meditate in my room
Take long walks around the fields nearby
Remind myself that there is beauty in the world
There is good
There is good
There is good
Mom, can't you hear me?
Dad, can't you make all my problems go away?
Why is nobody listening?
Why is nobody caring?
Why is everyone so silent?
We all sit at our computers hour after hour
Surrounding ourselves with people
But sitting alone in our rooms
I sit and stare
Wonder what the world could be like
Would be like
Has the potential to be like
There can' be that much hate
There can't be that much cruelty
There can't
There can't
There can't
I don't want to hear anymore
I don't want to imagine being that mother
Who finds her child swinging from a tree
Hating him or herself because they thought
They thought
They thought
They were different than the rest
Unlike any other
That life won't get better
That dying is the answer
And pain is all they know to feel
Make it all go away
Stop the stories from feeding into my ears
Let the voices proclaim love instead
Bring those children back to life
So that I may hug them
Embrace them
Cradle each and everyone of them
Tell them that I love them just as they are
It does get better
What we say
It will get better
We tell ourselves as we go to sleep
Lying in our beds
Staring at the ceiling
Wondering why

And then there's this:
This video below sums up so much of what I want to say. Please pass it on to family and friends.  Let's do what we can to help teenagers and adolescents understand that it does get better and we do love them.
PLEASE Watch and share with others.

Now, let's talk about what we can do to help.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Turning In The "V Card" And What It Means To Be A Virgin In Today's Modern Society

While I do pride myself on being a feminist, my views regarding certain issues might surprise some of you. For instance, the concept of virginity is something I've been discussing with several of my girlfriends lately and I find myself on a whole different page than some of them. We all have our own views on it, as should be expected, and different experiences in our lives that led us to reach those beliefs.  Some grew up wanting to save it until their wedding day, others were waiting until they were at least three to four months into a steady relationship, and a select number are still waiting until it feels right for them.  Mind you, there is no right answer to this, to each her own!  However, there is still one overwhelming question I have based on the discussions I've had with my friends.

What does it mean to be a virgin in today's society, and why is there so much pressure put into this idea of whether a young woman is a prude or a slut?

It's just fascinating to me the amount of influence someone's sexual escapades have on their social standing.  Not to go to much into it, but it's such a double standard for us that when a young woman sleeps around she's dubbed a slut and a guy sleeps around automatically makes him a stud.  Yet, there is an equal amount of pressure slammed down upon both genders on whether or not they are in fact virgins.

The movie "40 Year Old Virgin" is about a man who has never had sex, and while it is an entertaining and humorous film, there is a great deal of truth to it.  Men are expected to have done the dirty deed at least by their mid to late twenties (and that might be an exaggeration on my part, but please feel free to disagree).  Then there's the movie "Easy A" which I referred to in my earlier blog regarding female empowerment in movies, but it touches on the idea of being a young virgin in today's society.

What really influenced me throughout this film was that the main character, played by Emma Stone, began to enjoy her peers viewing her as (for lack of a better word) a slut.  While she, and the audience, clearly knows that she's never had sex, there is a great sense of power thrusted upon her when her reputation sky rockets.  It is the power of seduction and consists of the pedestal we all put sex on.

The thing is that while "40 Year Old Virgin" and "Easy A" are completely different stories, their themes are pretty parallel with regards to the influence sex has upon someone's social standings.  Being a virgin is what defined both these characters.  And what defines many of us still.

My friends used to ask me after dates, "Are you still a virgin?" as if it determined so much about my character as to whether or not I chose to sleep with the guy I went out with.  But isn't that always the thing though?  I mean when I had sex for the first time I did in fact call a bunch of my friends to tell them my "exciting news" and looking back on it now that seems so ridiculous.  I had been dubbed "virgin" for so long, I felt the need to wipe that slate clean and redefine myself for everyone else's sake.

Before I had been playing the character of the young woman who seemed to be experienced with her ways of the world, and had probably slept with a handful of guys, but in reality was just waiting for the real deal.  And by real deal here I don't mean love by any means, but more for the fact that I was waiting until I was ready.  Which is a very common idea among women I believe!

I've struggled with my idea of virginity a lot over the years, and probably due to the fact that I went to a Catholic school for twelve years, I wasn't sure how I felt about it when I distanced myself from structured religion.  It's held such a pressure in my life.  Weighed me down so many times and defined me for so long.  It makes me sad, actually, that sex holds that type of power over us, how it determines how others view us, and the way society welcomes or rejects us.

Why does it have to be either the prude or the slut/stud?  Why does it matter?  Why does it have to mean everything?  Why does being a virgin usually refer to a woman, yet we can't hold a concrete definition of what the word actually means?

Virgin equals never having sex, but what kind of sex?  Many young women consider themselves to be "technical" virgins because while they've participated in pretty much every other human interaction you can imagine, they are in fact still virgins because they've never experience the "intercourse" aspect of sexual intercourse.  I've also heard that virgin can mean someone who has never experienced an orgasm.  So does that mean that even if they've had sex with another person, but never received any pleasure from doing so, they are still considered virgins?

Again I ask, is there a concrete definition of what being a virgin actually means?

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines virgin as: "an absolutely chaste young woman".

Dictionary.com:  1. a person who has never had sexual intercourse.  2. an unmarried girl or woman.  7.  an unfertilized insect. (Had to throw that in there.)

Urban Dictionary:
Virgin:  n. Person who has not yet had sex. Largely believed to be mythological.
2. A person who has not yet engaged in sex because they are so socially crippled that whenever they are around the opposite sex they begin to hiss and fart uncontrollably.

Virginity:  What women are proud to have and men are ashamed of.
-A big issue over a little tissue.
-The greatest gift a woman or man can give to someone. You can only lose your virginity once, if you take someone's virginity, you have taken something that they can never get back: it's irreplaceable. As this is the first time someone has sex, the presence of the hymen will make this the tightest fuck.

Web MD:
"virgin" is often used to refer to someone who has not yet had sexual intercourse, there is no single, clear definition of what virginity is. To most teens, virginity is a personal topic that can be embarrassing to talk about.

Yes, I know these aren't the most reliable sources (and let's face it, some are just entertaining to me) but it goes to show that there are many concepts of what being a virgin actually entails.  There is no solid answer, and so I continue forward on my quest.  A quest to search for understanding and the fascination I have with everyone else's fascination with having/not having sex.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that this whole thing is based off a new play I am writing regarding virginity and the obsession society has with it.  So any thoughts, feedback, sources, quotes, statistics would be wonderful!  Thank you in advance!

Netflix Suggests For You "Female Empowerment Films That Stick It To The Man"

Personally I strongly appreciate films that have the woman going on her own personal journey, and if she finds love that's great, but if she needs the time to discover more about herself that is equally as great.  Why does Hollywood feel the need to have the happy ending of princess meets her prince charming at the end of many modern day movies?  Yes, I realize it sells more tickets and it's what many women try to believe in, but can't we just be realistic and tell ourselves it doesn't always end happily ever after?  Or maybe I'm just a cynic when it comes to this. I'd like to think I'm a positive person and think the best out of situations, but I also pride myself on being realistic and realizing that majority of the time life doesn't always work out like it does in the movies.  This is also why I have such a love for independent or foreign films.  They get it.  Hollywood is just so commercial and tries to appeal to the majority of the population.  But if the majority of us believe in the movies we're seeing (and maybe I'm just the one who's lost here) then why are so many women nowadays searching for their independence, waiting to get married or not getting married at all, and telling men to suck it.

I do enjoy the feeling I get after watching female empowerment movies such as "Whip It," "Easy A," and "He's Just Not That Into You" (this one's questionable) where they're basically reiterating the idea that women do not need men to be happy.  NOTE:  If you haven't seen any/some or any of these films I am referring to below, I would still love to hear your thoughts regarding female empowerment movies that ultimately have the main character finding her way back to the arms of man at the end of it all.  

Are there such films for men?  There doesn't seem to be a genre on Netflix titled: "Empowering Men Movies That Tell Females To Fuck Off"... or maybe I just haven't come across it yet.  The only ones that come to mind right now are "Fatal Attraction" (which basically just says "women are crazy!!!"), "He's Just Not That Into You" (again, I know, but it cover both the masculine and female categories of empowerment), and "Old School" (she broke my heart so let's create a Fraternity).

More on this coming soon, but these are just thoughts I've been working on as of late.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I like it on the floor, my bed, and my chair

I am of course referring to my purse.  

Didn't you know that?  Well, if you have a penis, chances are you didn't know what I was talking about.  

Earlier this month a message was passed around on Facebook that read:

Remember the game last year about what color bra you were wearing at the moment? The purpose was to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was a tremendous success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the news. This year's game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example "I like it on the couch", "I like it on the kitchen counter", "I like it on the dresser" well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let's see how powerful we women really are!!! REMEMBER -DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWER AS A REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE-PUT IT IN YOUR STATUS!!! PASS THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

While I did partake in this "cause" I have been grappling with the idea behind it since I received said message.  Yes, it is great that we're making people aware that it is in fact Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but how does a phrase "I like it on the floor" inform us of what that actually means?  How does that tell us how to check our breasts for cancer, or how to get involved with specific causes?  Also, how does leaving the men in the dark help them out?  Men can get breast cancer too!

When I first received the message posted above, my gut reaction was to send it to all my friends (male or female) regarding it, because I really don't see the purpose with leaving the men behind.  But then the curious side of me began to wonder how far this thing could go.  (I really enjoy sociological experiments).  And within the first couple days of sending it out to the majority of my female friends only three to four of them actually posted it on their wall.  Others just responded to my own post, which I thought to be odd.  Why respond to my posting with where you "like it", how does that help?

Last year it was bra colors, which I understand a little more.  Bras equal breasts.  Purses, not so much.  And I feel that some people only commented to other people's posts of where they "like it" because it is fun and flirty and makes people think they're having sex.

Yes, it get's attention.  As seen in a great article posted earlier today, which expands on some of the ideas I'm mentioning here.  But what I think we should actually do is by educating one another on what Breast Cancer Awareness Month actually means.

Here's a website I found useful to check out for more information.

Besides, what other month strongly encourages us to feel ourselves up like this?  Not only for ourselves, but you can just tell your girl/boy friends that you're helping them keep an eye out for cancer when you're feeling their breasts next time!


Monday, October 4, 2010

And so it begins...

While researching several concepts for a few plays I am working on, I have come across a series of articles, podcasts, advertisements, and more, that I wish to delve more closely into. This blog is not only going to be used as a tool to help me study some of the gender topics I find so appealing, but to share thoughts and opinions with others out there. At first this started as a website dedicated to talking about the idea of virginity, and what it means to be a virgin in the modern American society.  However, after looking at this idea more closely I have unlocked a whole slew of misunderstandings, misconceptions, and myths that I feel deserve some attention from us right now.  Issues such as frenemies, masculinity, and marriage, are only some of the ideas I am referring to here.  Having minored in Women's Studies in college, I greatly enjoyed the discussions that went along with the lectures, and have come to realize that I miss that feeling incredibly.  That feeling of learning from one another, bouncing ideas of the wall, really taking in all the gender topics that surround us in our everyday life.  It is my hope from this blog to regain a sense of that feeling among us.  A safe place for us to share, vent, question, and grow from each other.  Thanks for visiting for now, and I hope to hear from you soon!