“Cliteracy 101” (a Worthy Art Project)

Artist Sophia Wallace Wants You To Know The Truth About The Clitoris

New York artist Sophia Wallace wants you — and everyone you know — to be cliterate.

“It’s appalling and shocking to think that scientifically, the clitoris was only discovered in 1998,” Wallace told The Huffington Post from her Brooklyn studio last week. “But really, it may as well have never been discovered at all because there’s still such ignorance when it comes to the female body.”

The clitoris, described as the only human body part that exists solely for pleasure, is not merely a little “button” hidden between a woman’s legs, but rather a large, mostly internal organ many people don’t know about, Wallace explains….

internal clitoris

According to a 2011 post by Museum of Sex blogger Ms. M, the internal clitoris (highlighted in yellow in the images above) is a complex erectile structure consisting of two corpora cavernosa (that are said to wrap around the vagina when erect), two crura (erectile bodies that branch out from the clitoral body), clitoral vestibules or bulbs, and the clitoral glans (the part that you can see).(more)

Miley Cyrus and the MTV World


I am not a fan of MTV and the type of culture they create for our youth.

As a middle-aged white woman who did not grow up watching MTV (it was after my time), I have barely paid any attention to it except for the few years in the 90s when my kids were teens and we had cable. And even than – I didn’t see that much.

My husband and I both thought that the way women were depicted was particularly obnoxious – mostly as sexual props for the male stars.

So when the Miley Cyrus story hit that was where I was coming from. The story being that at the MTV awards Miley Cyrus who had recently been a teen Disnyesque star (another phenomena which I missed), performed a sexualized routine where she comes out of a teddy bead with her tongue sticking out all askew. Some were appalled because the young white woman was acting sexualized. Others were angry because she was trying to ‘act black” and appropriate black culture.

This is more or less what I saw. Miley dancing with teddy bears – some of which turn around and are black women dancing / twerking (twerking meaning to move ones hips up and down – in a sexualized way).  Background vocals “twerk it out”  – Cyrus uses the mic suggestively. One of the black women makes a movement of hitting Cyrus’s ass – but does not come very close.  At one point, a somewhat large black woman in zebra pants and a teddy bear head bends over, Miley Cyrus puts her face near her behind and then slaps her rear a couple of times and she sings about “doing whatever we want”. “it’s our house we can love who we want to” “We Can’t Stop”

In the next song, Cyrus rips off her one piece (with a comic face on the front), and wearing a nude color bikini signs a duet with a while a white middle aged man in a striped black and white suit. She has a large foam hand with one finger sticking out that she is dancing with suggestively. She leans over and puts her crotch near his. He sings about her being a “good girl” while she plays with the foam finger. “I know you want it”, etc.

Then a black man comes out rapping with more black women dancing and twerking. There are few white women – more around the white man. Some of the same black women in red pants and black tops that had had the Teddy Bear heads (now – minus the heads) dance and twerk around the black man. The middle aged white man sings a little – back up. Cyrus ‘twerks’ with the foam finger. The songs turns and becomes more pop like than rap. “I got to give it to you” sings the white man.

What it seemed to me – a white woman who is trying to remake her image – going from the “Teddy Bear” stage to being an adult who is not afraid of sex – coming out of the large Teddy Bear with blinking eyes. The smaller teddy bears turn into black women who represent sexualized women. They slap her / she slaps them. It seems another message is accepting gayness – with the lines, “doing whatever we want,” “it’s our house we can love who we want to.”

To me the next song is more annoying because Cyrus is playing the exposed naked, sexualized girl to the powerful man who acts like he is aloof from it all.

The last song is more mixed – with a black man and a white man, with their separate sets of black and white women – the black man singing hip hop, the white man singing more pop. Miley is in the background.

Some of the reviewers were trying to express the problems they saw – but it didn’t really resonate with me. In one review (and these are basically all addressing and first song), the critique is that “What Miley is doing amounts to minstrelsy…”

She has been quoted as saying that she explicitly wanted “a black sound” for her new album. She is more than aware of what she’s doing, and has consciously made the choice to dabble in traditionally black aesthetics and sound in order to breakaway from her good girl image and further her career.”

For one thing, it doesn’t seem like such a big problem for someone to “dabble in black aesthetics” and to go for “a black sound.” The black sound has been a major part of the music industry for about 100 years.  So that criticism seemed rather hollow. Plus I didn’t buy it that what she was doing amounted to black face or ‘minstrelsy’.

It struck me as being a case where a white woman was trying to break into this sexualized world that is MTV – much of which has been greatly influenced by the hip hop culture. I was annoyed that so many had a problem with a white woman doing what black women, white and black men have been doing for 30 years.

But there was so much disturbance regarding the racial aspect that I had to acknowledge the problem. This writer, TressieMC, described it best – for people like me who live outside of this:

When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland
Fat non-normative black female bodies are kith and kin with historical caricatures of black women as work sites, production units,  subjects of victimless sexual crimes, and embodied deviance….She is playing a type of black female body as a joke to challenge her audience’s perceptions of herself  while leaving their perceptions of black women’s bodies firmly intact.  It’s a dance between performing sexual freedom and maintaining a hierarchy of female bodies from which white women benefit materially.

That may be what the writer above was thinking with the minstrelsy analogy – but I didn’t really get the picture until Tressie McMillan Cottom painted it for us.

“Why America needs to confront the Vatican”

@ the site, churchandstate.org.uk, they have reposted some parts of Dr Stephen D Mumford’s book, “American Democracy and the Vatican”. The book was first published in 1984 during the Reagan administration. In it, Mumford describes how the Vatican – the Catholic establishment – worked to influence public policy and public opinion. For example, prior to Reagan, people were becoming more aware and concerned about global overpopulation. During Reagan’s term, that all came to an end – along with concern for the environment and concern for women’s equality (the Equal Right’s Amendment was defeated in 1982).

A few paragraphs:

If the stakes are high for the Church as an institution, they are critical for all nations and people, including Americans. That world popula­tion growth poses a serious security threat has been well established.[2] Under the Carter Administration, the National Security Council first acknowledged this threat,[3] which was subsequently reaffirmed.[4] The election of President Reagan has introduced an administration that is the most Catholic in American history. His first National Security Advisor, Richard Allen, a Catholic, halted within the Council further discussion of population growth as a national security threat. His second National Security Advisor, William Clark, a Catholic, announced that the Carter council had “erred” in this determination and that this “error” must be corrected. Reagan’s CIA director, William Casey, a Catholic, ignores any intelligence that would indicate that overpopulation is a security threat. Alexander Haig, a Catholic who was Reagan’s first secretary of state, supported the Carter council’s position on this issue but, according to Haig, was drummed out of office by his Catholic colleagues. His replacement, George Shultz, a Catholic, remains silent in this regard.

Margaret Heckler, a Catholic, as secretary of Housing and Human Services, is responsible for the U.S. government’s support of domestic family-planning services. She is both anti-abortion and supportive of the administration’s restrictions on family-planning services. Attor­ney-General William French Smith, a Catholic, is responsible for the Immigration and Naturalization Service and for the execution of U.S. immigration laws. The attorney-general has chosen to give little atten­tion to this responsibility and to ignore the fact that our bishops and thousands of clergy commit a felony every time they aid or abet an ille­gal alien (90 percent of our illegal aliens are Catholic). The mathe­matical odds of this arrangement happening by chance are fantastically low in this nation which is only 20 percent Catholic. The Church has managed to cover all key highest level positions that would be con­cerned with the population growth and security issue….

The successes of the Church have occurred despite a large unsatis­fied demand for family planning. Among countries studied by the World Fertility Survey, typically one-half of the fertile married women who want no more children are not using any method of contracep­tion. On the Indian subcontinent these levels exceed 90 percent. As a rule, one-third to one-half of those interviewed reported that their last child was unwanted.[7] Worldwide, more than two in three women at risk of pregnancy (about 450 million out of 670 million women) lack access to modem contraceptive methods.

The decline of the world population growth control effort of the past couple of years has coincided with the activities of Pope John Paul II and his Vatican. Virtually every American is familiar with his position on family planning and population growth control: “The will of God and the law of reason demand an unrelenting fight against immoral contraception.” His position has been well covered by the American press. It is indeed unfortunate that the actions of the Vatican to intervene in our national affairs have not been equally publicized. This silence of the American press has given the Vatican enormous power to undermine family planning worldwide. The Church is completely candid about its implorable opposition to birth control and professes that it will do everything possible to accomplish its purposes.

The Vatican has called on its bishops, all of whom are completely loyal (though they may appear at certain moments to be otherwise) to thwart efforts for population growth control. The Church, through its two thousand years of experience, has learned that responsiveness to the chain of command in this truly monolithic organization can best be guaranteed by selecting persons for leadership positions who have an intense lust for power….


On the one hand, this could read as a bigoted opinion. People are supposed to be tolerant of other’s religions, etc. The problem in that the Catholic religion is extremely powerful and adversely affects many inside and outside of their religion.

I have problems with their insistence on the superiority of men, and the adverse long-term effects on the planet of their anti-birth-control stance.


The Avenging Uterus and Other Cartoons of Feminist Backlash

“Life Begins at Incorporation: Cartoons and Essays by Matt Bors”  book being offered as a ‘premium’ for donations to truth-out:

Glenn Greenwald says of Matt Bors, who is often featured on Truthout, “Bors embodies the highest virtues of political cartoonists: fearless, provocative satire and cutting, acerbic insights. He’s also unfailingly funny.”

Whose Afraid of Cornelia Pillard?

In June, Obama nominated Cornelia “Nina” Pillard to be a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Apparently, the GOP has an issue with her because she is a ‘Feminist’.

The Maddow Blog quoted Dahlia Lithwick on the issue:

She is a well-respected professor at Georgetown Law School; co-director of its Supreme Court Institute; a former lawyer at the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Justice Department; and a successful Supreme Court litigator.

She is also a “feminist.”

A “feminist” insofar as she has spent part of her career advocating for women’s equality (including a successful brief challenging the men-only admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute, and a successful challenge to gender-biased family leave policies). Pillard’s “radical feminism” appears largely to take the form of seeking equality for women, which would certainly be a disqualifying feature of her advocacy work. If it were 1854.

This episode has some of the same-old, same-old quality that has led most Americans to tune out the judicial confirmation wars as partisan and predictable on both sides. But to do so is to misunderstand the nature and basis of right-wing attacks on Pillard. She isn’t being condemned for what most Americans view as radical feminist activism. She’s being shellacked for academic and litigation work devoted to pushing for basic women’s equality.


From theblaze.com


Even with her opponents, some conservatives have come out to support Pillard. Former Assistant Attorney General of the United States Viet Dihn, now known as the founder of a conservative law firm, wrote in a letter of support:


As we do not share academic specialties, I have not studied Professor Pillard’s writings in full, but I know her to be a straight shooter when it comes to law and legal interpretation. She is a fair-minded thinker with enormous respect for the law and for the limited, and essential, role of the federal appellate judge– qualities that make her well prepared to taken on the work of a D.C. Circui judge.


Some of the notable court cases for the Harvard and Yale graduate include “United States v. Virginia (1996), which opened the Virginia Military Institute to women, and Nevada Dept. of Social Svcs. v. Hibbs (2003), sustaining Family and Medical Leave Act rights against constitutional challenge.” 


http://www.lifenews.com complained that Pilliard made remarks such as, 

that abortion “free[s] women from historically routine conscription into maternity.” 


It sounds to me that she would be an excellent choice for the court.

Nahla Mahmoud on the problems of Sharia Law

This is quite a good piece @ the National Secular Society site:

Here is why Sharia Law has no place in Britain or elsewhere

It is important that we secularists demand not only a secular Britain, but also a secular Middle East, North Africa, and world. Sharia as such is a law of a religion with state power in many regions around the world. We have also witnessed in the last two years a grand hijacking by Islamists of the achievements of civil society in the Middle East. Not only that, but here in Britain there are now 85 Sharia councils implementing Sharia law on the streets of London, Birmingham, Bradford and elsewhere.

It is important for me to clarify what I mean by Sharia. To be precise, I am discussing the laws and legislation which are already in practice in the UK and abroad, not theoretical or utopian ideas that only exist in the minds of those who defend and are usually in favour of Sharia. The examples below include Islamic laws in countries around the world that claim to be implementing Sharia — the right Sharia — and are legislated based on the main sources in Islam, the Quran and Hadith, and sometimes in Fatwas….

One: Women
Sharia discriminates against women (and Muslim women specifically): compared to feminist victories elsewhere, women are still not considered equal in most Islamic settings. A woman’s testimony is worthy half a man’s in Islam. She gets half the inheritance of her male siblings; a woman’s marriage contract is between her male guardian and her husband. A man can have four wives and divorce his wife by simple repudiation using the word “Talig”, whereas a woman must give specific reasons, some of which are extremely difficult to prove. Child custody reverts to the father at a pre-set age, even if the father is abusive. Women who remarry lose custody of their children. <more>

Two: Children
Sharia discriminates against children. Not only does it affect children when they are young, but the implications will last their entire life. Top of the list is child marriage. Under Sharia law, a girl is eligible for marriage as soon as a girl begins her first period…

Other discrimination against children that must be considered is the lack of exposure to different ideas and thoughts. Children from an Islamic background are often taught to close their minds to new ideas and some are brought up to hate their Jewish, Christian and Hindu classmates, as well as any gay students in their class. <more>

Three: Homosexuals
Sharia discriminates against homosexuals. On this particular issue, Islam, as well as Christianity and Judaism, hold the same intolerant view. Homosexuality is forbidden in most Islamic states with punishments ranging from a fine or public flogging to life imprisonment. Ten Islamic states impose a death penalty for homosexuals…

Four: Non-Muslims
Sharia discriminates against non-Muslims, including other sects within Islam such as Bahia’s, Ahmadia’s, and Shia if under Sunni ruling government or the reverse….

Five: Non-Believers and Atheists
Sharia discriminates against non-believers, atheists and apostates. It truly disgusts me that apostasy and blasphemy laws are still in practice in some regions of the world. Did you know that free thinking and freedom of speech are a crime punishable by death, public flogging and imprisonment in the 21st century? I have seared in my memory the brutal persecutions and executions of many atheists and scientists for the simple crime of critical thinking. <more>

I believe this is everyone’s battle, including progressive, secular and liberal Muslims. The right to live, think and express freely your opinions is one of the great achievements of human civilization. These values belong to all of us regardless of our background or geographical regions. We cannot limit these achievements to ‘western values’ or ‘cultural sensitivity’.  

Army Reserve Manual & Religious Extremism

I saw this article @ DailyMail 

Army Reserve training material lists Catholics, evangelical Christians and some Jews in ‘religious extremism’ category along with the KKK, Hamas and Al Qaeda

  • Pentagon based conclusions on Southern Poverty Law Center report

A slideshow presentation shown to US Army Reserve recruits classifies Christians, including both evangelicals and Roman Catholics, as religious extremists, placing them in the same category as skinheads, the Ku Klux Klan, Hamas and Al Qaeda.

The presentation also warned that members of the military are prohibited from taking leadership roles in any organization the Pentagon considers ‘extremist,’ and from distributing the organization’s literature, whether on or off a military installation…. (snip)

Later in the slideshow is a list of groups that exemplify ‘religious extremism.’

Included are ‘evangelical Christianity,’ ‘Catholicism,’ ‘Ultra-Orthodox’ Judaism, and ‘Islamophobia.’

Most of the list is populated by more widely accepted examples of religious extremist groups, including Al Qaeda, Sunni Muslims, Hamas, and the Ku Klux Klan.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2304739/Army-Reserve-training-material-lists-Catholics-evangelical-Christians-Jews-religious-extremism-category-KKK-Hamas-Al-Qaeda.html#ixzz2PhCcOY5y 
RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM: These groups were all lumped together in a slideshow for US Army Reserve recruits EXTREMIST ORGANIZATIONS: The presentation described groups like the religious organizations as advocating force, violence or extremist causesPresenters were instructed to tel recruits that soldiers may not take leadership positions in any group the military considers 'extremist'

I see it as a move in the right direction – though it was rather a shock to those who see extremism by most Christians to be normal and even good. I’ve noticed Catholic writers  argue that it’s terrible that people are using peer pressure and “bullying” to convince others that gay marriage should be legal. Meanwhile, the author turns a blind eye to the bullying by the Catholic and other Christians who bully gays to death. Churches have as their foundation peer pressure.

Father John Hollowell argues:

I just want you to know that if this is your sign [a pro-gay-equality symbol many shared on Facebook] then you are actively supporting my persecution, torture, imprisonment, etc.  Perhaps you know that already, and perhaps that warms your heart, but I wanted to make sure we’re all on the same page here….

Because this man only sees the persecution done TO Catholics but never BY Catholics.

Meanwhile, another Catholic writer glories in the Inquisition – says it was one of the

“Ten Great Things About Catholicism” and wants to bring it back. Either these people don’t know anything about the extent that Catholics killed people for not believing what they were ‘supposed’ to believe – or they think that it was all fine and good to kill, torture and threaten people. But either way, the Catholics and the Evangelical type of Christians who think it is somehow their duty to kill or convert others should be seen as hate groups. It’s absurd for Catholics, esp. to claim victimhood when there are over a billion of them and their power, money and influence are as strong as they are.

For the liberal Catholics who are not extreme and do not push extreme views – they would be better off calling themselves something else, and giving their money directly to the needy.

In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren’t people

Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren’t people – which is fine, of course, except that it seems that they were probably negligent in the case. And then there is the matter where they have the people around entire world worked up against birth control because a couple of cells must surely be a person already, what with having the DNA code combination. And the problems of the Church contributing to all of the nonsense that abortion is murder (throwing guilt in people’s faces). And problems of the Church contributing to the world’s overpopulation, the lack of women’s agency over their lives, the increased stress on people and society. And there are the women who have to die if they are in a Catholic hospital which won’t perform an abortion to save the women’s life – even if the fetus has died already.

It would be nice if the Catholic Church were forced to dissolve. Not likely with their trillions of dollars. Though if the Catholics around the world wised up to the hypocrisy and stopped contributing, it would be a start.

Christian Penises

Abby Moss wrote a post for the Huffingpost.UK, that I noticed:

Why the Church of England is Confused About Penises  

(some snips ->

One month ago, the Church of England voted against women bishops. This week, they’ve decided they’re totally fine with gay bishops, even gay bishops in civil partnerships, as long as they refrain from sex. As far as I can see, there is a clear link between these two decisions. Penises. The Church of England has a very complex and troubled outlook on the penis. Mostly, it’s terrified of penises and all their sexy functions. They would prefer for penises, and balls I guess, to go away and for all people to be asexual beings, with crotches that are entirely smoothed over, like a Ken doll (who, now I come to think of it, was pretty camp himself)…

The problem with women, according to the Church, is that they don’t have a penis and Jesus did. Gay bishops have penises, so that’s good. But if they use them for anything but peeing they’d be out of a job faster than you can say “I got so drunk at Mardi Gras, I woke up on the roof of my hotel wearing nothing but my bishop hat”.

It’s vital to the Church’s order of patriarchal power and control that the male stays at the top. Because God is a man and Jesus was a man. Mary was a woman but, oh look, she never had sex. Adam and Eve ate the fruit, realised they were naked and that was bad, apparently. The penis is a vital, central part of the Church’s hierarchy and order as a symbol of maleness. But as a symbol of sex they’re ever so keen to repress it…

Someone who commented (whose comment was deleted) – that penises are an insignificant aspect of the Church delusion –  inspired me to add this comment:

I agree with the writer. It is all about penises. The fact that Christianity is based on the concept of a symbolic GOD with a penis and his offspring GOD with a penis – it’s about the symbolism – and giving men power. The supernatural, the miracles, is just another symbol of power. That HE suffered gives HIM power. That HE supposedly ‘rose’ (like a penis) = more power. That Christians try to pretend that HE is inside them (body & blood) – could also be a sexual reference to the penis ( a revelation I just received thanks to a writer whose comment was dropped). That Christians think they can run things is all part of their perceived penis power (which some women try to link themselves to). As if – the biggest dick wins.