Sunday, November 14, 2010

I've had this saved as a draft for a year. I wish I was still this passionate...

We have to take care of each other. When a baby cries into the night, people rush to them, and that should never change. If a woman screams in the night, someone should run to her.

I live a very fortunate life. I know now, at 20 years of age, that I can bounce back when I am shaken to the core. But what about survivors of assault, rape, and mistreatment? What about the woman who can't get off her knees because someone decided that they had the right to knock her down. To be unwillingly stripped of everything that feels right in the world is to be figuratively brought to the ground indefinitely, and life suddenly feels wrong. Faith is depleted by just trying to survive the day. Thinking about the struggles of women whom I don't know is a big concept for me to grasp, and when I sit and listen to a preacher preach, I can't help thinking about those women. Where is this God that the preacher speaks of when they need him? Why is it that to test one's faith, one must be sexually violated? And why, someone tell me, is it that the preacher doesn't talk about rape. They talk about the stressors of daily living and preaching to your enemies, but you give me one woman who spoke "the word" to her rapist while he was attacking her. Women are merely trying to survive. And we wonder why people blame God.

When I was 12 years old my youngest sister was an infant. She spent hours of each night crying and crying. I spent half of the night hiding under my covers trying to rid myself of my guardian angels. I wanted them to flock to my sister and take care of her because I didn't need them at that moment. Obviously, if she was wailing, her angels were still using their training wings. I would never know if it worked, or if they ever left me, but I hope that they took the opportunity. I feel the same way today as I did as a young girl. I want my God and my angels to flock to my sisters all over the world because I am okay right now, and my sisters need a leap of faith. I will sacrifice my faith for them if they will take it. I want them to feel that God is listening, right now he is just saying no, which is better than saying nothing at all. I believe this, because humanity has failed me, and faith is all that feels comfortable.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dear Lockup Producers

I thoroughly enjoy your television series, but I feel like you are missing fundamental information in your documentaries about issues in the prison system that directly affect the world outside of prison walls.

I’m specifically referring to the privatization of prison companies that run outside of state profits and instead are owned by investors who are constantly making money off of their cash cow facilities. I would like to know, when you go to a prison for a documentary, are they run by the state or are they privately owned? I’m not saying that either system is better than the other, they both need extraordinary over-hauls that I will never see in my life time, but the input and output of economic resources in a privately owned system astounds me. Angela Davis would refer to this phenomenon as the “punishment industry”. I would like to see an episode of Lockup that explores the exportation of products that are “made on the inside to be worn on the outside” as stated in advertising slogans for clothes made inside of prison walls. What is the net economic gain that is produced by free labor in these facilities that you visit? Do your viewers know which companies are using inmate produced products? And even more importantly do they know how cheap, easy, and unfair it is to produce goods from a prison facility? Eve Goldberg and Linda Evans, both advocates for inmate rights, explained the business of the punishment industry the best, saying, “No strikes. No union organizing. No health benefits, unemployment insurance, or workers’ compensation to pay. No language barriers, as in foreign countries.” Economic exploitation of an imprisoned individual forms no ground for stabilization outside of the prison system upon release. The act of prison profit is virtually generating something out of nothing, and is of absolutely no benefit to the prisoners whatsoever.

Another thing that I am interested in is the mistreatment of incarcerated women. I feel like abuse is undermined in the media because such a small reported percentage of women inhabit the prison population. Unfortunately, the number of women entering the prison system has doubled since the 1970’s as a part of the mass incarceration issue that our country has faced in recent decades. Whether it is sexual abuse or emotional abuse, women are still facing the same hardships on the inside as they are on the outside, and it is necessary for management of such facilities to continue to protect women from becoming victims of sexual violence regardless of their position in our hierarchical society. There are not even the minimum parameters of protection in place for the mass bodies of women being raped by staff and other inmates. Sexual violence is substantially overlooked by authorities who are claiming that it does not exist or that it is too out of control to handle. In a system where ultimate control is the main objective, I find it hard to believe that there is no way to prevent the serious acts of sexual exploitation inside of prison walls. The lack of action from authorities seems to be just another way to oppress the behaviors of females and keep them in constant fear with the threat of assault.

I also strongly believe that your viewers should be enlightened to the lack of respect for an incarcerated pregnant woman. There is an extreme emotional disconnect between a mother and her newborn child solely because of the extra enforcement that restricts the female inmate during her labor. Shackling a pregnant woman during the most highly respected act of child birth is humiliating and cruel. It seems unlikely to me that the pain of delivering a child or the immobilizing abilities of an epidural would allow an inmate to carry out an escape plan while on a gurney. Also, health risks outweigh whatever benefits that the U.S. corrections system receives from such restrictions: examinations and access are limited, pain is increased by the restraints, and finally, the safe practice of medicine in a physician controlled environment is compromised. Contamination of the sterile environment, both physically and mentally, also seems to be a possibility with a corrections officer looming in the corner to oversee the “security threat”. I believe that the invasion of such privacy ruins the most intimate moment for a mother and child, and I am fairly certain that said officer would not use hospital grade sterilization regulations on restraint equipment. Thankfully, the support of respected medical authorities has enabled a proactive movement to eliminate the use of physical restraints in a delivery room. I would be very appreciative if this movement extended to the media also, and I feel like your documentary has the ability to report on such issues.

Overall, prisoners do have the same basic human rights as other citizens. Sadly, when an individual becomes incarcerated, their voice is locked up, also; it is collected and accounted for as with the rest of their belongings to be returned upon release. It is up to advocates on the outside to become the defense for the people who have had their rights literally stripped away from them during every violating search; all remanence removed and all body cavities checked as a continuous reminder that opinions are contraband. We have to protect our fellow females on every level of our society's hierarchy or we are continually not doing enough for them.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dearest group member,

You are so lucky that we are working online because if you would have told me in person that all pregnant American women are educated, I would have slapped you.

A few questions that would probably get me in trouble:
1. Homeless people don't have sex?
2. All families living in poverty eat a balanced diet?
3. You think that having a healthy child has NO CONNECTION to someone's socioeconomic status?
4. Do you even know what socioeconomic means?

Fun fact: Having three kids doesn't make you an expert, just irresponsible.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

If you don't like feminism, antipornography, or the word "fuck" you should read this

Stopping big corporations from their funding and revenue feels unrealistic to me. The pornography industry is a multi-million dollar bank role, how fast and how long will we have to put pressure on the big companies before there is change? I don't foresee that anyone will be able to take down an industry that has become so big and powerful across the world. It has men hooked, investors are cashing in, and women are trying to live up to the porn stars that their significant others are getting off to. Everyone is involved, and I can protest Video-entertainment-dvd-blue ray-gaming Mart and its affiliates, but that will only effect, what, not even ten bucks of the money made from porn? A CEO in the technology world could take her company and refuse to market any affiliation of the porn industry, but she will take her empire, her employees, and her investors out in the same way that Sony tanked Betamax. So if I can't do anything and CEO Bigbucks can't do anything, then let's focus on something we can do. Focus on the women. How do we change the way a woman perceives herself? If a man goes home to his wife every day and she isn't laying on the kitchen table with just bologna covering her bits, then she isn't justifying the way pornography portrays her: as a meat loving housewife. Women cannot define their sexuality as the way they see sexy in magazines, on television, and in the porn their husbands watch. It is not okay for a woman to believe that to seduce her husband she has to conform to all of the bologna.

I watched a Gail Dines lecture from her website, I don't know if it was "Pornography and Pop Culture", but something that she said triggered such a strong, shameful feeling in me that it inspired me to go off on this rampage. All she said was "Fuck me" and I went into a complete mental overhaul of the image I have built for myself. Fuck me shoes, fuck me jeans. My initial thought was, what the Hell happened to my sophisticated, classy wardrobe? When really, I don't wear outlandish outfits from the lingerie shop at all, but I found myself realizing that pornography and media sexual portrayal made me feel like to be sexy and appealing, this is the way I have to stereotype myself. I could have on my most decent and modest funeral clothes, but I would still be wearing my "fuck me" shape wear. It's the way that I, personally, classify what I wear. I don't believe that other people are thinking, "Oh, she is wearing her 'fuck me' pearls to work today," it's all in my screwed up perception of reality. Believe me, I just had this realization today and I will probably wear trash bags for the next five years just to deprogram myself. Who told me that this is how I should think? The magazines that I've been devouring since middle school. Television personalities definitely aren't calling things "fuck me" but they are definitely wearing the same things that I see in those magazines. I built myself a shrine of those damn identity traps, and it feels JUST AS BAD as the men that devour Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler. Young, developing women are viewing the exact same ideologies that I did growing up, except there are a few articles nowadays about how plus size women can look sexy. Good for them, but girls are still going to grow into their independent style with stupid phrases like "fuck me pumps". When in actuality, to purchase a legitimate "fuck me pump", one would have to go to Sex World and get a pair of seven inch, see through, platforms. Seven inch, see through, platform. That's what my next door neighbor's deck looks like...

Someone correct me if they think I've got the wrong idea, but this feels fucked up, not "fuck me". I had this self evaluating experience today, and I realized that I have done exactly what I have been programmed to do. It is a terrible feeling. These magazines, Cosmopolitian specifically, are they written to train young girls to act like raunchy porn stars? Really? When Gail Dines says "soft core has migrated into pop culture" is this what she is talking about? "His burning sex need, sex positions, seduce him, sex during your period, sex poll, sex tips from guys (sizzling, sinful, and surprising things they're craving now), look so sexy, girl traits no man can resist, orgasm guaranteed, sex up your eyes..." FOR WHO? Who are we sexing up our eyes for? Definitely not ourselves because on the same page it says "speak his sex language". I used to love reading my monthly Cosmo. My sex magazine. But I never thought of it as a sex magazine. It wasn't until now, at 20 years old, that I realize what Cosmopolitian really is. A 15 year old should not be able to purchase a sex object training guide before they can hold a legitimate paying job or drive a car. Let's shop around for a more supportive magazine... something where we can learn to cook for our men instead of fuck for them... Or maybe the cover celebrities who young women look up to can put their clothes back on and support their fellow females. Look at Reese Witherspoon, have you seen her in her underwear lately? No, she is a big supporter of Avon's empowerment movement. Reese Witherspoon does not show up on the cover of Cosmo anymore, and I wonder why... hah.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What I'm reading right now...

My book list does nothing except for grow. Every once in awhile I'll share the literature that I've become interested in, whether I've read them yet or not.

My Top 10 List

1. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

2. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search For Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

3. Stiff:: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

4. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

5. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

6. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs, in Pakistan and Afghanistan by Greg Mortenson (Who also wrote Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time)

The Overacheivers: The Secret Life of Driven Kids by Alexandra Robbins (Who also wrote Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the American Meal
by Eric Schlosser. *This book was also made into a film in 2006 if you don't want to read the book*

A Long Way Gone: Memoir of a Boy Soldier by Ismael Beah

Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search For Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. *Also being made into a film with Julia Roberts to be released in 2010*

We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's by John Elder Robison

As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda by Catherine Claire Larson

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriquez

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

Push by Sapphire

Leave it to Me by Bharati Mukherjee

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui

Driving with Dead People by Monica Holloway

Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden *Also, my favorite movie

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody (This is based out of Minneapolis!)

Confessions of a Park Avenue Plastic Surgeon by Cap Lesense

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

For One More Day by Mitch Albom

Geisha, A Memoir by Mineko Iwasaki

Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer by Nancy Brinker *This book immediately catapulted itself into my Top 5.

The New York Regional Norman Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

Lit by Mary Karr

Cherries in Winter by Suzanne Colon

First, You Cry by Betty Rollin

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dear Karen,

From what I gather you are the dean of students at MCTC. I believe that you will be able to assist me in this little problem that I have. Come to think of it..I have a lot of problems with MCTC, but this one is really inhibiting my ability to learn. In recent weeks I have become overly violent while maneuvering my vehicle through an over packed parking ramp only to find myself being directed to shove my car into a makeshift parking space. I feel like I'm being asked to stand naked in the middle of an intersection. My car normally ends up sticking dangerously far out into the aisle. I'm waiting for ghetto fabulous to clip off a side mirror or mistake my car for a speed bump.

Today will be the third day in a row that I have missed my college algebra class. Luckily, attendance does not effect my grade, but I do feel like I'm 6,000 dollars in debt for no reason. Some people that attend MCTC may be compelled to stockpile quarters in their vehicles, but I do not know where to find the ATM that ejects such denominations. I ran out of sticky chump change early last week, and I do not fancy a parking ticket unless all fines are covered under the handbook's "we suck" clause.

I would be happy to take alternative transportation to class, but I left my broom at Hogwarts when they threw me out. My second option would be Metro Transit, but as we all know, smelly bike riders take the bus at this time of year and no one likes people who tuck their pants into their socks.

My third option would be to take a cab, but they all have a picture of my face on their scanners. I'm not allowed to ride with Suburban or Blue and White taxis because I have space issues. I don't handle boundaries very well and cabbies get nervous when I put the front seat back and lay on my stomach. What can I say? I get car sick and they don't carry barf bags.

My last legitimate option would be to get to school at 5 A.M. and try to park my car in the skyway, but that is just absurd. It is common knowledge that only Japanese brand cars know how to walk up stairs.

Other less reasonable reasons include:
-My horse has an aversion to traffic laws.
-My motor scooter was designed in the 70's. It's fueled with bong water, but marijuana is illegal and impossible to find anywhere in Minneapolis. Maybe if we lived in Pasadena.
And finally,
-My boyfriend doesn't let me ride him all over town...

In conclusion,
After all of this audacious rambling I would like to request that MCTC officials regulate the influx of parking permits, monitoring the people coming in and out. No parking permit, no entry. I, as an outstanding student, have reserved myself a parking spot whether it is on the roof or in the farthest corner of the basement. My permit is updated and fully accessible. It hangs proudly on my rearview mirror, taunting the face of law enforcement when they chide me for having objects obstruction my view of the road.

If parking continues to be a hassle for the parking attendants to control, I will be happy to take matters into my own hands. My louisville slugger and I would be honored to go around and smash the back window of every car with last years parking permit, or none at all. Double parked vehicles will also find that both side mirrors will be missing. I feel that these measures will make the parking attendants job much easier, as the smashed widow should be a clear indicator that the owner of said vehicle is abusing their parking privileges.

With love,

Inmate 00314348


You can be whatever you want to be when you grow up, but don't be a fool.