“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

Aside

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.

Men’s Rights and Women’s Rights

I was reading something online and now I can’t find it -but it mentioned the MensRights forum at Reddit – so I wandered over there to take a look.

 

While there may be a couple of points worth making – for the most part – I see the MRAs as clueless. Take, for example, the idea of “Men’s Studies” – as a corollary to “Women’s Studies”. That is such an obnoxious suggestion. Why? Because 98% of school already is “Men’s Studies”. While it has gotten somewhat better in the last decade or so – the vast amount of what people learn in school is about what Men have done, has been written by Men, created by Men, etc. It would be great if there were no need for “Women’s Studies” – because all of the subjects included as many viewpoints / contributions by Women as Men. We are nowhere near that.

It seems to be that the Men there complain alternately that women are dependent on Men And that women are better off than Men. I don’t think that both are possible.
Our topics are generally about divorce laws, custody laws, equal treatment under the law, false-rape accusations, domestic violence, gender double-standards, feminist hypocrisy.”
It is interesting to see what these particular men think about sexism, etc. as it is pretty much opposite to my ideas. I don’t think that they are interested in considering ideas from a women’s point of view. I am Very aware of a multitude of ways that Men are favored in society – like 97% of the art in many art museums being by Men, Men automatically being seen as “Authority Figures” while women are minimized. A large percentage of CEOs are Tall Men, for example. Look at most legislatures – large majorities Men, most upper court judges – Men, etc. The men still hold most of the power – so it seems pretty lame when they complain. And esp. when they suggest that women have more power than men and are being “sexist”.
These Men like to way over-exaggerate false-rape claims and way under-estimate actual rapes and the effects rape and the fear of rape has on women.
These men generally deny and minimize abuse by Men and maximize any negative actions by Women. They would probably deny or minimize the fact that most churches have Male Authority figures – or perhaps not notice or merely take it for granted that GOD is considered by most to be a Male or have the attributes of a Male. This gives men the privileged archetype which, by itself, implies authority and power is Male.
These Men’s Rights advocates complain about how various media models – such as what one sees on TV shows – minimize Male empowerment and empower Women, instead. They resent that some Men are shown to be weak and will do whatever the woman wants – and don’t even get upset if the woman has multiple partners, etc. I myself, am quite aware of how women have traditionally been presented by the media – including going back to at least Aristotle – who said that women should not be shown to be brave or clever (only Men should be portrayed that way) – and who thought women were inferior and wanted everyone to think that. I don’t see it as really a serious problem if some Men are shown to be slightly weak sometimes. The vast majority of TV executives, directors and producers are men. It would seem pretty obnoxious if Men never showed any men as weak – and I have a sense that it is done to make Men seem better than they would seem otherwise – by the fact that they are not All powerful.
Are women more likely to get custody of children? Yes – I’m sure they do. I am sexist to the extent that I think that for the most part, unless the woman is a drug addict or alcoholic, or has some other problem, that women are generally better parents when it comes to paying attention to and responding to children’s needs. I’m sure that there are plenty of exceptions.
When it comes to single parents – I think that both Men and Women need as much social support from society and friends as possible. And men probably find that to be in less supply because it has been unusual for Men to have the main custody. It wasn’t that long ago that Men assumed that they could not raise children alone at all and would find someone else to raise their children if the mother died. Partly that would have been because society was not set up for working parents of either sort. Lack of Day Care, etc. Mother’s are still discriminated at work (with less pay or not getting jobs) because it is assumed that they will want more time off – want to leave more, etc. It is my understanding that in similar cases businesses are more likely to give Men a break – because Men are not expected to have to do both – have a career And raise children.
I think that some of all the ill will by the MRAs goes to underlying feelings that either they feel inferior – or that they don’t feel as privileged as they expect Men to feel – or that they have mother issues (such as they think their mother did not love them enough or something). Basically – they have no understanding of feminism and see themselves as the main victims of society. And, of course, with their groups, they reinforce their mostly erroneous beliefs and try to shield themselves from opposing viewpoints.

Equality & Life & Environment Vs. Male-supremacy (Tradition & Control)

Jonathan Heidt has an article in the New York Times Forget the Money, Follow the Sacredness, where he tries to simplify the left and right. I have a feeling that he leans right because of they way his simplifications lead.

Haidt writes, for instance, “For the American left, African-Americans, women and other victimized groups are the sacred objects at the center of the story.” While that may be true to some extent – it implies that anyone who is not a woman or black or victimized does not count. Which is not true. And his summation does not follow the quote that he posts from Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith.

It is a more positive description to say that Equality is the sacred object in the center. And Life (actual life, not unborn life). And yes – the Environment is sacred as well. Equality (non-discrimiation, equal-opportunity to go to college, to access health care, etc.), Life (& health), and the Environment. That is more encompassing than being about women, blacks and victims. And it also describes the left better.

For Conservatives, (white) Male-supremacy and their control of the world is the sacred element. It is referred to in terms of “religion and the traditional family” – but the religion they speak of – conservative versions of Christianity is all about Male-supremacy and control. The “traditional (white) family”, “strict father” ideas are all a part of that – so of course women and minority groups are especially going to rebel against that.

Haidt does not mention the (white) Male-supremacy aspect of the conservative message (possibly because he is a white male) – and without that aspect – the parts where Conservatives see Liberals as “Devils” makes less sense. As does the part where Liberals are upset with Conservatives – which is more understandable when you know how and why Conservatives are against equality.

Conservatives also against concern for the environment – because they think that their religion expects them to dominate the earth and they think that means that they have free-reign to do whatever.

The Conservative leaders are also very much about control. Where Liberals understand and accept that people are different, have different or no religion, have different sexual preferences, etc., Conservatives do not. Liberals would be happy to accept Conservative lifestyles as long as those Conservatives were not trying to control and restrict everybody else.

So yes – it may be a “Holy War” of sorts as Haidt says – he just doesn’t understand the sides.