Tag: women

For Single Women, An ‘Infinite Variety Of Paths’

NPR: The Changing Lives of Women

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Over time, the image of the single woman has evolved — from Mary Tyler Moore to When Harry Met Sally to Sex and the City to 30 Rock‘s Liz Lemon.

Writer Rebecca Traister says until very recently, getting married marked the beginning of a woman’s adult life. But in the past few decades, there has been a dramatic jump in the average age women get married — from around 22 to around 27 — a change that’s been profound.

“We have now shifted our vision of what an adult woman’s life path usually entails, and it now entails some period of economic, social, sexual independence,” says Traister, a senior editor at The New Republic and author of an upcoming book about unmarried women. And she says that while the shift in marriage patterns is mostly a good thing for women, it can also be seen as a destabilizing force in society.


Single In America

105 million: Number of unmarried people in America 18 and older in 2013

53 percent: Percentage of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older who were women in 2013

62 percent: Percentage of unmarried U.S. residents 18 and older in 2013 who had never been married

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Interview Highlights

On the messages associated with the rise of single women

The lack of marriage is being blamed for almost every social ill — whether it’s gun violence, whether it’s poverty, whether it’s the dropping birth rate. You have demographers worried about the fact that as people marry later, they’re having fewer children. Single women come in for an enormous amount of blame, politically and culturally.

So that’s one set of messages. Another set is this kind of glamorization — whether it’s Sex and the City, which is now 10 years old, or whether it’s theNew Girl or Mindy Kaling — you see all new depictions of women living independently and having interesting, varied lives.

On the reality of shifting marriage patterns

I think we make a mistake when we create binary between “you’re either married or you’re unmarried.” Once you lift the imperative that everybody get married at age 22, what you get is an infinite variety of paths.

It’s not simply some argument that single life is inherently better than married life. The fact is there are all kinds of married lives and all kinds of single lives, and more people are now free to go down a variety of paths.

On this “mass shift”

You basically have the creation of a new population. One clear example is that single women actually in 2012 made up 23 percent of the electorate, and they voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. You have women who are earning money in places where they’d never earned money before. You have women who are single who are having babies out of wedlock. More than 50 percent of first births are now to unmarried women. It destabilizes the power structures that had existed before because to have women living independently in these ways — voting, having babies, earning money — it removed some of the power that had traditionally belonged to men, who have long been in economic and political power.

On how much of this shift is about the economy and not necessarily a choice [a 2010 Pew study shows that marriage is still a life goal]

I think the fact that women have unprecedented economic opportunity, that they are now permitted to, and in fact in many cases expected to, go out and earn money, they are busy doing other things. That does not mean that many women and men don’t still have the desire to partner, to fall in love, but the actual economic tolls of marriage and motherhood — which are very real — mean that often they’re electing not to take on those tolls of marriage and motherhood early in their careers when they are now in the position to be out stabilizing themselves economically. …

It’s not necessarily politicized, it’s a human sense of “I don’t want to get tied and distracted by my emotional life right now as I’m establishing myself as an adult.” That doesn’t mean that the desire for love, partnership and companionship is removed. The kinds of strategic choices that women across classes are making — about when to marry, when to have children, how to commit themselves to their career, how to make money — doesn’t mean that any of them don’t yearn for companionship. But there are also a series of practical choices now available to them, ways of balancing the different things they can do with their lives, that often mean that marriage doesn’t necessarily have to come first, and in fact in many cases, it doesn’t make strategic sense for marriage to come first.

http://www.npr.org/2014/09/30/352661280/marriage-pattern-shifts-seen-by-some-as-destabilizing-society

Women Having Orgasms (NSFW)

The following photos are probably not what you anticipate viewing, when you think of the big O.

Photographer Captures Real Women From Around The World Having Orgasms (NSFW)

The Huffington Post  | By 

“Can you remember your first orgasm?” “Can you remember your strongest orgasm?”

These questions are not often asked of each other. They are especially not asked too often of women. Female pleasure remains a widely muffled topic in many public spheres of conversation, even more so — unfortunately — when experienced without the presence of a man.

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Keren, Israel

Photographer Linda Troeller and scholar Marion Schneider decided to put an end to the gender biased trend. Together, they photographed and interviewed women of all different ages, nationalities and cultural backgrounds, thus crafting a raw, sensual and multifarious view of what a female orgasm is and, importantly, what it can be. The two compiled their findings into a stunning book published by Daylight, aptly called “Orgasm,” bringing private matters into the public eye, further eliminating the stigma and shame too often associated with the topic.

Troeller and Schneider snapped their subjects in a variety of sexually charged scenarios; one woman touches herself in the swimming pool while another sticks a cucumber in her mouth and raises her arms triumphantly. The majority of circulating images depicting female pleasure are made with men in mind, yet these photos, captured what Schneider calls a “creative female gaze.” They’re at once vulnerable and empowering, personal and political.

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Elfriede, Germany

There is a process for women at any age to ‘evolve’ and feel in touch with their ‘hot’ selves,” Troeller said of the motivation behind her work. “One woman developed a system of touching herself to orgasm and then blessing herself with that vibrant energy, imagining it spreading as white light onto her arms and legs. She created a kind of ritual to potentially enhance her aura and energy.”

Although sex is clearly at the core of the series, its importance extends beyond the physical realm. “Orgasm” aligns a certain bodily peak with an energetic way of being in the world, of loving yourself and loving others all at once. “Eroticism is no longer associated solely with ‘sex,’ but it is a vital ‘turn on to life,'” Troeller said. “Even my 70-year-old mother saw how to increase it on a TV talk show and ordered the recommended vibrator for orgasmic stimulation. She used it to satisfy and uplift her mood even after she lived in a nursing home.”

Do you feel comfortable sharing, or even learning, the details of your personal pleasure? See all the wonderful ways women climax below and let their bold sensuality serve as inspiration. And ladies, can you remember your strongest orgasm?

  • Antonia, Germany
  • Annie, US
  • Dragonfly, US
  • Marianne, Netherlands
  • Marion, Germany
  • Natty, Germany
  • Nirvano, Germany
  • Sadie Lune, US
  • Valentina, Netherlands

 

“Orgasm” will be released on November 5, 2014 (with an unveiling on September 20 at Photoville in Brooklyn.) You can preorder a copy here.

More: Nudes by Weegee

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/18/female-orgasm-photos_n_5675271.html

Lillian’s Last Affair – Sue Katz – Book Signing

Join me Monday, July 7: 7:00 pm. I’ve read the book – great read.

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http://www.suekatz.typepad.com

JC Anderson Apartments: Community Room

251 South 13th St, Philadelphia 

Reading and book signing followed
by a reception with light refreshments

LILLIAN’S LAST AFFAIR by Sue Katz

Consenting Adult Press 2014, $9.99

A unique collection of short stories about the love lives of older people

 “If I’m going to go after one more affair of the heart at 84, I’d better get my ass in gear,” says Lillian, speaking for all the characters in these six stories.

Ruby has a run-in with a waterbed and Catherine tokes her first joint in the bathtub with Victor. Elegant Anna’s introduction to kinky sex is bittersweet. And then there’s the neighbor with the strange attachment to the grocery cart. Sue Katz’s hilarious, tender, and impeccably written stories confirm that age fails to erode our eccentricities or dull our ardor.

Sue Katz’s stories are full of pleasure, pain, and humor, with carefully drawn, superbly evoked characters. —Richard Schweid, Oscar-nominated documentarian and author of Che’s Chevrolet

Buckle your seatbelt for an exhilarating ride. Lillian, Ruby, and other habitants of Sue Katz’s deeply irreverent stories… are touching, shining, tawdry, and sometimes hilarious. — Gina Ogden, PhD, LMFT, author of The Return of Desire

Sue Katz is a wordsmith and rebel who has lived and worked on three continents: first as a martial arts master, then promoting transnational volunteering, and currently teaching fitness and dance to seniors and elders. Katz is an experienced and popular public speaker and event M.C. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in anthologies, magazines, and online. She writes on a range of topics; the issues of aging and sexualities have long been a theme. Lillian’s Last Affair was a three-year labor of love. She now lives in Arlington, MA. Her email: sue.katz@yahoo.com.

The Erasure of Maya Angelou’s Sex Work History

A personal history of Maya Angelou that may surprise a few of you. A well written piece, from a feminist perspective, by Peechington Marie.

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Dr. Maya Angelou, American Poet Laureate, most famous for authoring I Know Why The Caged Bird Singspassed away at age 86 on May 28th, 2014. Her literary agent Helen Brann confirmed the news to press, and thus began a worldwide outpouring of grief. The top trending tag on Twitter was “RIP Maya Angelou” and, at the time of this writing, it is one of four Maya Angelou-related trending hashtags. She is hailed as a national best selling author, a genius, a spiritual God-, Grand-, and mother. She is lauded as everything Black women should aspire to emulate in life. So why is it very few of us know she was a sex worker? Why is it, even in her death, as in her life, it’s such a guarded secret? Why was this secret kept by seemingly everyone except Dr. Angelou herself?

We can, once again, boil it down torespectability politics and stigma. I am angry about it. I find myself ruminating, considering, wondering: If her work had been talked about as much as her dancing with James Baldwin or even her considerable, commanding and lovely height of six feet, what would the sex work community look like today? If we had talked about her wonderful compassion for sex workers, how she never looked down on them, and her refusal to be intimidated by invasive and obnoxious questioning about her sex working past, what would sex workers around the world be saying today in memory of her life?

Instead, we read post after post, obituary after tribute, calling her a “pimp” and saying she had “an unsuccessful stint as a prostitute.” The most detailed accounts currently online are making sure to emphasize that she spent a “brief stint,” a “short time” in the sex industry, so as to, without explicit words, solidify the shame they believe she should have felt, the shame we should feel as well. The media uses inflammatory terms to get clicks and to emphasize the terrible and shameful secret that was, in actuality, never a secret at all.

Dr. Angelou herself says she was never ashamed.

 

I wrote about my experiences because I thought too many people tell young folks, “I never did anything wrong. Who, Moi? – never I. I have no skeletons in my closet. In fact, I have no closet.” They lie like that and then young people find themselves in situations and they think, “Damn I must be a pretty bad guy. My mom or dad never did anything wrong.” They can’t forgive themselves and go on with their lives. So I wrote the book Gather Together in My Name [about her past as a sex worker]. [source]

In interviews, Dr. Angelou used the term “prostitute” to refer to her previous employment without rancor or shame. She spoke candidly to her family about it. She told her mother, brother, and son she would redact the information from the book, but only if they were uncomfortable with it. She had no issue whatsoever with speaking her truth. So why do we not know about it, save for hushed whispers and the occasional salacious reference in reports about and interviews of her? What’s so wrong with our beloved and lovely Maya Angelou having been a sex worker and brothel manager?

Go read this book now if you haven't already!

Go read this book now if you haven’t already!

Respectability politics no doubt play a role in the erasure of her history as a sex worker. With a wide brush, details on it have been painted over by those who won’t acknowledge such a thing, brushing past it to talk about her awards and accolades. But she had no problem stating plainly: “There are many ways to prostitute one’s self.”

It comes to this: there is no way, in the minds of most people, to have worked as a prostitute and not be ashamed of it. Most people believe there is no way to have held this job (and it is a job), move onto other things, and not consider it a “seamy life” or “shameful secret.” To most people, there is no way a woman of Maya Angelou’s caliber could ever have performed as a sex worker. The idea just won’t gel for them, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the truth. Maya Angelou: Poet Laureate, Pulitzer nominee, Tony Award winner, best selling author, poetess, winner of more than 50 honorary degrees, mother, sister, daughter, wife, National Medal of Arts winner, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, consummate and powerful woman, artist, and former sex worker. Yes, the woman you love, the woman we all love, the incomparable Dr. Maya Angelou was a sex worker and she proved, in her life and her stories, that there’s nothing wrong with it.

To quote her:

Now you understand
just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
the need for my care.
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
(Phenomenal Woman)

Indeed, we are proud of you, Dr. Angelou. Thank you for everything you’ve so shamelessly shared with us, for your truth needs no shame and deserves acknowledgment, acceptance, and a warm, loving embrace. Words can never express my gratitude to you and my grief at your death. Thank you.

Read More: http://titsandsass.com/the-erasure-of-maya-angelou/