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Fall Issue 2010


Fem

03 A Long Way To Go 04 I’m A Free Bitch Baby 05 Feminine/Masculine Alien: Gendered 06 Desire in “Avatar” Real Housewives Iris Hu

Danae Hart

Sahar Shiralian

Kelsey Sharpe

Does Eminem and Rihanna’s Love Lie? Carolina Huezo

07

Tragedy of Manners Sergio Arguello

A Heteronormative Love Story Elsie Franco

Letter From Editor Writing a sex issue for a feminist newsmagazine may seem problematic to many, but I am fed up with the outdated concept that sex is incompatible with liberation. Women are constantly criticized for being sexually aware or comfortable with sexuality by men and unfortunately other women. I am a feminist that grows weary of the constant exploitation of women and their sexuality used as a tool for male pleasure. However, there is no shame in embracing your sexuality for you and your desired partner. Sexuality is one aspect of our lives that is often suppressed out of a fear of supporting the very patriarchal ideals we combat. It is crucial to see sexuality as something that is within us, not from an outside source, or from those who have the privilege of being our partners. Embrace your sexuality, it is the feminist thing to do. Danae Hart, Editor in Chief 2010-2011

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EDITOR IN CHIEF Danae Hart STAFF WRITERS & CONTRIBUTORS Brian Flannigan Danae Hart Carolina Huezo “Sayeh” Kelsey Sharpe Sahar Shiralian Sergio Arguello Elsie Franco DESIGN Ushma Vyas Danae Hart MEDIA DIRECTOR Arvli Ward MEDIA ADVISER Amy Emmert SPECIAL THANKS TO: Campus Progress for helping FEM stay in print and loyal readers like you that continue to support feminism at UCLA in our collective movement for gender equality and social justice. FEM Magazine 118 Kerckhoff Hall 308 Westwood Plaza Los Angeles, CA 90024-1641 Phone: (310) 206-6168 Fax: (310) 206-0906 Email: fem@media.ucla.edu www.femmagazine.com Copyright 2010 UCLA Communications Board Published with support from the Center for American Progress Campus Progress (online at CampusProgress.org) FEM is published and copyrighted by the ASUCLA Communications Board which supports the University of California’s policy on non-discrimination. The student media reserves the right to reject or modify advertising portraying disability, age, sex or sexual orientation. It is the expectation of the Communications Board that the student media will exercise the right fairly and with sensitivity. Any person believing that any advertising in the student media violates the Board’s policy on non-discrimination should communicate her or his complaints in writing to the management of FEM. All columns, cartoons and letters represent the opinion of the author. FEM is UCLA’s feminist newsmagazine, dedicated to promoting human rights, gender diversity, feminism and the issues surrounding gender and sexuality.


Real Housewives crafts, presents vacuous image of women Iris Hu // Staff Writer Bravo’s sixth installment of the Real Housewives franchise takes us beyond the huge display of mansion-lined drives and intimidating iron-rod gates, into the private worlds of six beyond-what-we-can-imagine wealthy women — The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is the Mecca for Hollywood stardom; the cast includes Camille Grammer, now ex-wife of Kelsey Grammer, a busty blonde with two children and four nannies. Continuing with the Hollywood theme, Kim and Kyle Richards are a pair of child-actress sisters, aunts of Paris and Nicky Hilton, who also have children of their own. Luscious-lipped Taylor Armstrong is married to a workaholic investment banker, and spicy Briton Lisa Vanderpump equates tiny dogs with accessories, owns several restaurants, and also has a husband. Adrienne Maloof is married to a plastic surgeon, and if that is not enough, she also manages the Maloof family businesses: Las Vegas’ Palms Casino and Resort, NBA team the Sacramento Kings, and the Maloof Money Cup skateboard competition. The entire Real Housewives franchise glamorizes stereotypes of women. The women of Beverly Hills persistently personify superficiality by embracing body-hugging de-

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signer cocktail dresses, monthly Botox injections, mani-pedis and you-fill-in-the-blanks. Taylor’s insecurity about her marriage results in physical pampering, scared that her husband may “leave [her] for a twentyyear-old,” which implies that her appearance would compensate for any flaws in this marriage. This celebration of physical beauty is a byproduct of superficiality, as these housewives believe that physical features and materialistic possessions are more important than personal attributes. Even when the ladies are not on screen, the show’s screenshots of Rodeo Drive and designer boutiques (all of which have enough capital to feed a small country) loudly screams capitalism, and the word “women” becomes synonymous with shopping. And if these women are not shopping, they are being mothers, as if those are the only things that women are capable. The patriarchal viewpoint most often glamorizes women’s sexuality or emphasizes their ability to produce children only because that is the only thing men cannot physically do. Everything in between is eliminated; we are hardly ever given the privilege to see the woman thinking for herself, doing things for herself, and simply being herself.

On the show, though we see that Camille is dying to step out of her celebrity husband’s shadow, this is challenged by her overwhelming sexuality, resulting in Adrienne’s husband’s comment regarding Camille’s dancing: “The way Camille moves … I can see why Kelsey married her. She’s very sexy.” But what we see is not always what it is. The women of Beverly Hills, or at least a few of them, do have substantial careers. Adrienne manages the Maloof family business, while Lisa takes care of her baby, the high-end restaurant Villa Blanca. However, we only get mere glimpses of these moments, as camera time revolves around the superficial lives of these women. In a New York Times interview Andy Cohen, the face of Bravo, stated, “We wanted other women to look at them and think, ‘I want that.’” This notion is exactly what confirms these stereotypes: viewers, mostly women, are constantly exposed to these patriarchal standards of femininity such that it seems almost wrong if women and consuming, women and mothers, do not correlate. Here’s to another round of Botox-injected and breast-implanted women — Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is now available on our TV screens, brought to you by Bravo.

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A LONG WAY TO GO Bruin Feminists on the Frontlines Danae Hart // Editor in chief // dhart@media.ucla.edu

As the fight for reproductive rights grows, the anti-choice movement gains momentum. Protestors line-up outside clinics, harassing women seeking services, creating a need for volunteer escorts to ensure safety. It was an early Saturday morning as we approached a family planning clinic in Los Angeles, only to be greeted by shouts from a crowd of protestors yelling, “Baby killers!” A group of ten UCLA students from the Bruin Feminists for Equality, an on-campus student group, braved forward in anxious anticipation for the demands of the afternoon… Cory, coordinator for LA4Choice, an organization that runs the Clinic Escort Service, addressed our group of eager volunteers by welcoming us with shirts that read: Clinic Escort. To avoid confusion with the protestors, these shirts provided patients a support system. I knew when volunteering that I would be exposed to people who strongly oppose something I am very passionate about. Even though I came in with this frame of mind, it was difficult to prepare myself for the intense environment awaiting me. When a patient is seen nearing the building, protestors come forward yelling and forcefully distributing pamphlets that detail “the realities of abortion.” Falsified pictures of mis-

carriages are passed-off as abortions. Protestors often provide information for alternative clinics in the area, but these have been identified as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that lack sophisticated medical services. Designed to deceive women, CPCs are a tool used to persuade women from having abortions. The Saturday before Mother’s Day, volunteer escorts watched as anti-choice protestors convinced a woman to leave the clinic. While the woman’s doctor feared she had an ectopic pregnancy (which can lead to permanent damage of the fallopian tube or the death of the mother), the anti-choicers rallied on, convincing her to make an appointment with their Catholic doctor. They guaranteed her that doctors were often wrong and that her baby would be born healthy. Unfortunately, the doctor she was referred to would most likely not provide the services needed because Catholicism prohibits abortion even if the mother’s life depends on it. Women are constantly manipulated by the anti-choice propaganda. This unfortunate

incident illustrates the urgent need for volunteers to ensure women are given accurate information about their options. As Cory said, “These are the kinds of incredibly dangerous lies that women are told every week, by people who prioritize their agenda over the lives and health of women.” In fact, police presence is not a rare occurrence. As Cory states, “there are several antichoicers who won’t hesitate to use their elbows against escorts, or push out of the way, but we call the police quickly when such incidents occur.” But beyond the violence of anti-choice speech, another frustrating obstacle for volunteers is the language barrier. However it should not dissuade anyone from volunteering as Cory explained, “if you can stand there as a reassuring presence while a woman is harangued and lied to in Spanish, that’s what you can do.” Merely having the escorts present helps protect these women and ensures their ability to seek the appropriate support services. Women are often overwhelmed by the crowd, so it was my job as an escort to inform the patients that they did

not have to listen to them or accept anything that was handed to them. The protestors varied. Some were extremely aggressive and would yell at anyone they saw entering the building as well as harass the escorts. I heard shouts saying, “This is a slaughterhouse” or “Have the courage to be a mother,” as women walked into the clinic. At one point all the protestors lined up and walked behind a man who held up a cross. Later in the day they all began to pray aloud. It was appalling to see these anti-choicers often us-

ing religious rhetoric to further their misogynistic views. Often religion was used as their justification in harassing those who sought services from the clinic. Witnessing how passionate the anti-choicers were was extremely discouraging as the struggle for women’s rights rages on. Despite the zeal of those who desire to infringe on women’s rights, there are positive results from escorting as Cory said, “We do what we can do, and every week women thank us for what we do.”

AN INSIDER:

“40 Days of Life & LA4Chooice”

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Cory has been a clinic escort since 1996 and founded LA4Choice. When asked – why did you get involved with LA4Choice? – she responds: “In September of 2009, I read about the upcoming ‘40 Days for Life’ action being planned by a Catholic organization based in Texas. I checked the website and saw that they planned to target a clinic in Los Angeles, so I called the clinic and asked to be put in touch with whoever coordinated their clinic escorts so I could volunteer. Not only did they not have clinic escorts, but they didn’t even know they were going to be targeted by the ‘40 Days’ action. With a full time job and two small children, I was reluctant to organize anything, but I couldn’t stand back and let the anti-choice forces have their way unopposed. So I formed ‘40 Days for Choice’ with a friend to counter that action, and then ‘L.A. For Choice’ grew out of that when I discovered that the harassment at the clinic was year round, not just during the 40 Days For Life actions”

To get involved, contact LA4Choice@gmail.com. Also visit http://40days4choice.net or 40days4choice on Facebook. For more details on Clinic Escorts, see http://la4choice.wordpress.com/clinic_escort_primer/

Bottom Photo: BruFem volunteers pose outside a free clinic in their clinic escort shirts. Top Photo: Antichoice protestors march down the sidewalk, led by a man holding a cross. Meanwhile police patrol nearby to ensure the clinic entrance remains clear and safe.

All photos courtesy of Yasmine Alkhatib


I’m a Free Bitch, Baby Sahar Shiralian //Staff Writer Lady Gaga. One cannot have a conversation about current pop culture without those two electric words. Just their sound stirs excitement. She is a source of controversy, admiration, love, hatred, inspiration and fear. I cannot help but think how silly it is that the mentioning of a name that sounds like baby talk can generate so much heated debate. Should we fear this pop icon for the sake of our children? Is she truly an artist, or does she do what she does for mere shock value? And most of all: is she a good role model for women? To be quite frank, as a young woman, I have never before been so influenced and inspired by a pop songstress. Actually, the top 40 chart is the last place I look for role models As for female heroes, Jane Austen is the object of my idolatry. Upon hearing the smash hit “Just Dance,” I thought that she was just another flash in the pan — another bland, scantily clad pop star that provides a few anthems and then disappears. Little did I know that I would fall in love with every aspect of Lady Gaga after being dragged by a faithful “little monster” to a Monster Ball show in the summer of 2010. Lady Gaga promises her fans at the start of her show that she will “free” them by taking them to a world where fame, glitter and sex reign. The Monster Ball is a place where all are welcome, especially those who have played the misfit role for far too long. She has a magical ability to make everyone feel loved and accepted. Once the doors of the stadium close, one is allowed to be whomever he or she wants to be. For one of few times in my life, I did not feel judged and I felt as if I had nothing to hide At the Monster Ball, women and men of different sexualities and body types come together, accept one another, and feel beautiful

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together. I finally threw away that mask of who I should be that I have been wearing my entire life and instead chose to expose the face of who I truly am. Her final words particularly struck me: “Don’t leave loving me more, leave loving yourself more.” These words provided me with the long-soughtfor solution to questions that have been irking me since the beginning of high school. Is it okay to be myself? Is it okay to feel beautiful? Am I sexy? The last question may read as silly and absurd, but I think it is one that has probably crossed most women’s minds. Lady Gaga asks her audience this question at every Monster Ball show; but she is serious. She really wants to know. More importantly, she knows the answer and wants every single one of her fans to feel the same way. Gaga has explained this motive in the Los Angeles Times, saying, “women — and men — [should] feel empowered by a deeper and more psychotic part of themselves. The part they’re always trying desperately to hide. I want that to become something that they cherish.” She wants her fans to feel sexy, to love and enjoy sex, and to feel desired. I have always been plagued by the idea that women can either be a “Virgin Mary” or a “Magdalene the Whore.” Women juggle these two identities; they hesitate before sleeping with someone on the first date, yet often use their sexuality to get their way. We have become too familiar with the idea that with sexual confidence and liberation comes consequence. We play coy,

demure, hard to get, yet do not necessarily feel sexy in bodies that are constantly scrutinized by the media and men. Is it possible that we women can finally cut the cord that binds us to the opinions of society? Lady Gaga teaches every one of her little monsters that it is okay to be a misfit, to act naturally, and to simply be yourself. It is okay to be comfortable with your sexuality, to enjoy sex just as much as men do, and to free yourself from societal constructs. “Free yourself!” she screams at every one of her shows. Lady Gaga does not only endorse sexual liberation, but also liberation in all aspects of femininity. With female singers today such as Taylor Swift constantly crooning and pining for lost loves, Lady Gaga is the beacon for liberation and an inspiration for women to be independent and follow their own desires and dreams. “Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore,” Lady Gaga emphatically stated in Cosmopolitan magazine in March this year. In other words, being single is far from tragic, but in fact liberating and productive.

Our lives have revolved around relationships and men for far too long. Lady Gaga embodies female empowerment and does not need a man to feel secure, and more importantly, happy. It is no coincidence that her lovers meet their abrupt demises in nearly all of her music videos. She has become the most powerful female artist by her own accord, and although she often wears little-to-no clothes, she has proven that she is more than just a piece of meat (see: her 2010 MTV Video Music Awards meat dress). Of course, I am not advising women to poison their boyfriends or go pants-less à la Gaga. But I am advising you to let your hair down and to enjoy being single, have fun with girlfriends, and not wait forever for that text. Instead, don’t pick up — like Gaga and her partner-in-crime Beyonce, “you’re k-kinda busy.” Lady Gaga is one of the strongest icons of feminism and sexual liberation that we have today. She has redefined sex roles, is a vehicle for social change, and is a role model for innovative career women everywhere. Her voice — not her singing voice, but the voice that has encouraged women and the LGBT community to greater self-love and acceptance — is a source of inspiration to all.


Gendered Desire in “Avatar” Kelsey Sharpe // Staff Writer When people discuss “Avatar,” last year’s blockbuster from director James Cameron, certain topics invariably dominate the conversation—3D graphics, “Dances with Wolves” and environmentalism comes to mind. However, now that the film has been released on DVD, notice how gender is portrayed in a world purported to be an idyllic alternative to our own… After arriving on Pandora, main protagonist Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and the rest of his fellow recruits are warned by hard-boiled, straight-out-of-“Our Fighting Forces” Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang): the moon is inhabited by an “indigenous population of humanoids.” The Na’vi are indeed humanoid despite being a bit differently proportioned – some 4-5 feet taller than your standard-issue earthling. The question is – why? Why do they need to be humanoid when Pandora is populated by a number of brilliantly colored and creatively realized creatures that could have served just as well as the moon’s dominant species? Typical suppositions about human ego asode, a large part of the decision to model the Na’vi after ourselves may stem from sexual desire. There is, after all, a love story buried within the over-arching narrative of going native and keeping the planet green. Would an audience be able to accept a love story with a clear sexual component if the avatars were made to resemble the pterodactyl-like ikran? And beyond merely tolerating the sexual relationship between the characters onscreen, I think consideration was also given to the desires of the audiences. The Na’vi are tall, lithe and flexible, with exotic—in comparison to human—features. Moreover,

their large, golden eyes and fang-like canines are features perhaps meant to evoke the wild, animalistic qualities that we associate with feral cats. However, they are by no means stereotypical sex symbols. Several of my friends remarked upon the attractiveness of Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), yet she is not the typical sexy leading lady. From the get-go she is portrayed as being extremely formidable—she nearly kills Jake when she first notices him, then saves his life from a pack of viperwolves. She and the rest of the female Na’vi are shown to be more than competent at fighting and surviving on their own, and are just as fierce and ready to defend their home as their male counterparts. Physically they are not all that different from the males, with their nineand-a-half foot frames covered with sleek, compact muscle. They have large hands and feet, slender hips and small breasts (especially considering Hollywood standards). In scenes where the Omaticaya clan gathers together, it can be difficult to tell the men from the women. Yet, even with the attempt to break away from standard categories of feminine eroticism, the movie still relies upon heteronormative constructs. The Na’vi are distinctively male- and female-sexed characters, even if their secondary sexual characteristics are not as blatant or as individuating as those found on average humans. Neytiri plays a major role in the movie and is shown to be invaluable in aiding Jake to lead the Na’vi against the human invaders, but it seems that even in the future people must rely on the comfort of distinct gender identities and a heteronormative male hero.

Does Eminem and Rihanna’s Love Lie? Carolina Huezo // Staff Writer

By now, Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” has been played on the radio and television enough times that just the sound of the track conjures up images of domestic violence. The song alone does good and brings light to the serious, dark issue of domestic violence and abusive relationships. The lyrics effectively reveal a scenario that many who have experienced such a troubled romance can relate to, as both Eminem and Rihanna’s parts show the mindset that exists within those involved in such a situation. Eminem describes the part of the abuser, while Rihanna sings, “Just gonna stand there and watch me burn / But that’s all right because I like the way it hurts,” in the chorus, playing the part of the abused who cannnot find the strength or the heart to leave the situation. However, the music video detracts from the very positive impact it could have had in discussing and presenting such a grim topic. Casting well-known actors Dominic Monaghan (Lost) and Megan Fox (Transfomers) makes it feel more like a Hollywood drama than an art piece that portrays the feelings and circumstance of abusive relationships. Using them as the characters could have worked differently, and possibly sent the message that even successful people like them can find themselves living that life, but the way that the characters are glamorized in their appearance, and how they interact with each other, takes away from the serious and significant feel that it could have had. One minute the two want to rip out each other’s throats, and the very next they are lost in a passionate kiss or embrace. It does not help that Fox is something of a sex symbol, and that both she and Monaghan, along with Eminem and Rihanna, are presented as attractive characters. The video ends up portraying more of a glamorized romantic tragedy than a representation of the very real and serious issue that real people experience, often endangering their own health and lives. In the end, “Love the Way You Lie” is an idea and artwork whose power only went halfway. The real strength and significance is in its intention of bringing forth the dark side of relationships gone wrong and the cycle of abuse. The fact that the video glamorizes the issue results in it losing some of its credibility, since it is a commercial piece of music in the end. Commercial art has the tendency to try to maximize its appeal to the public in order to gain profit and be seen and heard by as large an audience as possible. The issue in this case is a very significant one, and even though it is not the best representation of the realities of abuse within relationships, it achieves something important – bringing up a difficult topic to talk about out into the open, and perhaps even moving individuals to fight it.

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Tragedy of Manners Sergio Arguello // Staff Writer

A tragedy of manners: feminism and the problem of chivalry Showers of human waste were commonplace perils to the

average pedestrian of Victorian London, which is why a gentleman walked near the curb and the lady near the wall. Thankfully, the threatening contents of a chamber pot no longer apply; yet, the chivalrous man continues to offer a lady (not a terribly politically correct term, btw) the inner part of the sidewalk. I discovered the unpleasant reason for this curious convention only recently. As a little boy, my mother taught me that this was the way that I was supposed to walk with her, even as she held my hand. I did not ask why, I merely accepted it; thus, chivalry became deeply ingrained in me. Now when I hold open a door or offer a seat to a woman, I will often brush away my actions with a smile and a quiet “It’s habit”. Despite the joy I find in conscious acts of chivalry, I have pondered the conflict between my actions and my sociopolitical views. Chivalry and feminism appear mutually exclusive, perhaps to the point that any compromise is synonymous with hypocrisy. Despite deceptive simplicity, the concept of manners can be difficult to handle, especially because of its insignificance. Many critics

categorize such arguments as frivolity of the feminist move-

behavior, there is a suppression of full individual development

ment. In light of the serious issues women face in our sup-

and the permanent relegation of a woman to the role of a baby

posedly egalitarian society, such as reproductive rights, wage

sister, or daddy’s little girl, or a helpless wife. Nowhere is the

inequality, and domestic violence, debate over who holds open

expectation of compulsorily heteronormative chivalry more

a door for whom, is as pressing a concern as the use of the

apparent than in the erotic interplay of dating. Here dating

term ‘womyn’ instead of ‘women’. A hostile approach is just

etiquette becomes an indecipherable burden for men. He is

as ineffective, if not more so. The image of the stereotypical

cheap if he does not pick up the tab, chauvinistic if he does,

“man-hating lesbian”, who punches the man who dares to open

and insecure if he waivers on his decision. A simplistic reaction

a door for her, has allowed feminism to become a caricature

places blame squarely on women; fickle creatures who want

of itself: a continuous complaint over every building block of

equality one day and preferential treatment the next. Dispersal

society for the sake of hostility. Defensiveness eliminates any

of blame from both sides precludes any form of understanding,

possibility to construct a society where individuals are treated

compassion or reconciliation. There is no simple or univer-

equally despite unavoidable differences with respect to gender.

sal solution, especially to those who consider this problem

Chivalry delineates the dynamics of social relationships in

obsolete, or not even a problem at all. The root of the solution

terms of gender roles. An extremist viewpoint regards chivalry

to the problem of chivalry involves the social deconstruction

as the product of the patriarchy and an example of the social

of gender itself. I could never advocate rudeness; instead, I

construction of gender. Despite its tentatively “good” intentions,

urge everyone to be kind to others. Let manners not bind or

it is impossible to deny chivalry’s potential to perpetuate latent

separate us with respect to gender; rather, let manners help us

notions of the fairer (read: weaker) sex. Chivalry denotes the

demonstrate goodwill to our fellow humans. Perhaps this one

subordination of a woman into someone who needs protection,

small step can make our goals for equality that much easier to

surveillance and control. As courtesy blurs with condescending

attain.

The Heteronormative Love Story: Taylor Swift Elsie Franco // Staff Writer Taylor Swift is a multi million dollar artist and one of the most influential artists in pop culture today. Her fan base is diverse, but a majority of it consists of young girls who idolize her and see her as a role model. But what kind of example is Taylor Swift posing for her young fans exactly? Taylor Swift claims that her songs are like reading her diary, listening to her album is to know her darkest secrets. However, all her songs are about love, or her most recent heartbreak, which believe me, are quite numerous. A high school romance tone is persistent song after song, and the only message that Taylor portrays is she cannot be happy without a strong masculine figure in her life. She constantly seeks that fairy tale romance to fulfill her but she has yet to realize that fairy tales are nothing other than fiction. It is sad to see that she continues to feed young girls everywhere this image of heteronormative romance that perpetuates the subordination of women. What young girls everywhere need is a strong female role model, one who does not need a man to be happy, and is successful and has a mind of her own. Girls get enough pressure over their roles as women in society, and are constantly told what they can and cannot do. They do not need yet another role model who constantly plays up the damsel in distress role and is seen as innocent and helpless. Being a strong empowering role model is a choice however, and with such a strong influence over young minds everywhere Taylor Swift could benefit from a bit more spunk. Next time Kanye West interrupts you Taylor, don’t just sit there and take it, snatch that microphone back from him and let him know what you’re made of. 7 FEM


fiction

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Your Folktales

Imagined Me Ushma Vyas

Never Say Never

Danae Hart

You would not hurt me You would not abuse me You would not harm me You should not pressure me You should not take advantage You should not take it too far You could not break me You could not change me You could not stop me

The Protector Brian Flannigan

I’ll always remember the day we first met– Your smile, your lips, and your pretty blue eyes. My heart skipped a beat, and I started to sweat The sun hit your hair, I started to rise. You held a book, sitting, staring, daydreaming. I stopped next to you and said, “Hi, I’m Mark.” You were being shy and your eyes were gleaming, As I sat next to you on the grass in the park. You said, “Hi, I’m Cary. I’m glad you came over. This book broke my… Wait. You have a girlfriend.” “That girl over there? No, I don’t even know her, But if you come with me, your heart I can mend.” The years have gone by, and we’re going to dinner I open the door and let you go first. We have a great meal, you say I’m a winner, I should probably feel blessed; instead, I feel cursed. I work my ass off to provide for us both; You feed off of me like some kind of growth. I pay for our meal, and see through your eyes, “I can depend on this guy ‘til the day that I die.” I give up my seat and make every choice, I walk by the street and lower my voice. You’re the Yin to my Yang and give up your power And, you want to make love like a delicate flower. Before we got married, you were filled with ambition, And I thought we were equal in every way, But, I “had to get your father’s permission”— I can’t believe I didn’t leave you that day. You claimed to be modern but still like tradition, You said it was love, but I call it submission. You acted like Sarah in the book of Peter You want to be “equal,” but wanted a leader. I was the leader, the one with the plan, But now the plan is to set myself free— Maybe one day I’ll be with a real man Who protects himself and is equal to me.

Danae Hart

The uncertainty of your truth Causes my relapse into this dialogue Your unwavering conviction Shields you from reality You retreat to your home of hay As if it were built of brick The regal slippers of glass As transparent as your intentions The pocket full of posies Can cause no change in your fate You continue to preach But your nose fails to grow Your ways reap profit for the rich And fail to acknowledge the poor I will push forward on my journey For if I look back I will turn to stone You believe you are saving me But I’d rather sleep through life Then awake as disillusioned as you are

You look at me and see what seems to be Some—THING really sexy My hair, my eyes, my thick ass-thighs Screams at you << Sex Me >>

But little do you know, I ain’t no hoe And you sure as hell can’t have me. ‘Cause my lips say it all, without with—DRAWL Boy you ain’t << Sexin’ Me >> My worth’s not drawn from your hard-on Or how it is you SEE me Because I am, with or without you, WHOLE–heartedly << Sexy >>

the truth behind your lies Ushma Vyas

thoughts wade in sullied speech– defamed, disparaged, devalued, defunct heat gives rise to the illusion of passion and the coolness clears as hands find meaning in my crevices panting leads to cries and the grip tightens to leave me bruised have mercy on my soul and Please me dear strongly bound – twisted, tangled in my legs moans reek through the thickets of pores, engulfing my thoughts into a heady daze clearly wanting, loving – your greed exceeds mine pained wetness equals dry. goodness only in your erect have mercy on my soul and Release me dear your skin, puddled with dampness, loses tension our embrace weakens to distant coexistence my eyes pained with wetness, equals dry. goodness only in your erect kissing my forehead softly, falling in the same exit as in entrance– meaning derived only in the tickled simplicity of actions, not words have mercy on my soul and Leave me, dear

The Cardinal

Sayeh

With her left arm beneath her pillow, holding the weight of her head, she awoke more rested than the typical Tuesday morning. Her eyes still closed, she felt his body inches from her, also lying on his left side, and could sense that he too was awake. Two birds were singing a random, disharmonious duet outside the window and his right arm reached back to graze her leg, her ass, her back – their eyes still closed in half-awake reverie. Soon she grabbed his ass, stroked her way to his cock and wished him a “good morning.” As the sun rose to the birdsong outside the loft, she awoke to visceral, intuitive, unthinking bodily delectation. His fingers brought her close to climax before she pulled him onto his back so she could put her mouth where her hand was. As she licked up his shaft, swirled her tongue around his head and took him completely in her mouth, he impatiently reached for her wetness. Finally she opens her eyes, “I want. I–,” as his fingers arrested her mental faculties, she stopped trying to speak and just gave in to the sensuality. “Yeah? You need me inside you?”

... “Yes, I need - ” she breathed. She guided him to her entrance and he slowly thrust into her. She closed her eyes again, enjoying the ride toward sunrise climax. As she neared orgasm, she lowered her chest to his, moaning into his neck, grazing her own neck against his beard, and whispered, “come inside me.” He wrapped both arms tightly around her and promised, “I’m coming to you.” As his thrusts became more frenzied, orgasm rippled through her, “oh my god,” and she felt acutely the streams of his orgasm inside her. She rested her body on his chest, rested her head on his shoulder and kissed his collarbone, smiling into his neck as she breathed heavily with him. His arms still around her, he caressed her body - prolonging the goosebumps of postorgasmic languor. Once their breathing regulated, she lifted herself off and nestled at his back as he turned onto his left side and they lied there under the glorious comforter listening to Spring announcing its presence.


Fem Newsmagazine's Fall 2010 issue  

An Alternative Sexual Reality

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