Friday, November 13, 2015

On Deck and in Check: Conceding Sexuality to Men through Pop Music

So I’ve noticed a trend in popular music over the past few years or so. A trend that may seem like it should be forward movement to a hippy feminist like myself, but definitely isn’t.

You see, women have been able to express themselves through music in a sexual way-finally getting acknowledgement as sexual beings. Well...sort of.

Unfortunately, many times the ways in which the media portrays female sexuality are not true to female sexuality, but how male sexuality wants female sexuality to be. Sound confusing? Let me demonstrate what I mean by cutting straight to some lyrics from songs that are currently playing on top 40 hit stations...  

“Gonna wear that dress you like, skin-tight
Do my hair up real, real nice
And syncopate my skin to your heart beating

'Cause I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
Let me show you how proud I am to be yours
Leave this dress a mess on the floor
And still look good for you, good for you, uh-huh”

“Tell me what you want
What you like
It's okay
I'm a little curious, too
Tell me if it's wrong
If it's right
I don't care
I can keep a secret, can you?”

In lyrics like these women seem to have sex drives as do men, sure. Yet it still isn’t about what the woman wants. Songs like this portray female sexuality...but as male-centric. Let me further demonstrate my point with snippets from a couple of other popular songs:

“Bang bang into the room (I know ya want it)
Bang bang all over you (I'll let ya have it)
Wait a minute lemme take you there (ah)
Wait a minute till ya (ah)
Bang bang there goes your heart (I know ya want it)
Back, back seat of my car (I'll let ya have it)
Wait a minute lemme take you there (ah)
Wait a minute till ya (ah)”

Boy, just tell me where you wanna go
I'll sit back, enjoy the ride (oh yeah)
Watch me wrap my body coast to coast
Trace a map of me tonight (oh yeah)

You know the, you know the
Language my body talks
You know what, you know what
I need to give it all
Nailed down to the bed
Now that you got a taste
Baby, don't you know where you should be?

If I was your girl, if I was your girl
I'd give it to you all around the world
If I was your girl, if I was your girl
I'd give it to you all around the world

“Best believe that, when you need that
I'll provide that, you will always have it
I'll be on deck, keep it in check
When you need that, I'ma let you have it."

"So baby when you need that
Gimme the word, I'm no good
I'll be bad for my baby

Make sure that he's getting his share
Make sure that his baby take care
Make sure I'm on my toes, on my knees
Keep him pleased, rub him down
Be a lady and a freak”

I could probably use the entirety of “Hey Mama” towards my argument but I think I’ve shown you enough to make a point. Yes, they are talking about wanting to have sex...but only as a means for pleasing the man.

So let’s just stop for minute. Hold up, pause the madness, halt.

Right now I’m not interested in ranting against these artists or dissecting the societal context of the issue. I just want to possibly mitigate some of the mental and emotional damage this has on young women by making a couple of points. Ladies, please listen:

1) It is okay to acknowledge your sexuality.

Whether or not you believe that sex should be saved for marriage/someone special, you can still acknowledge that women think about it. Talking about sex like it’s this thing that men love and women just concede to is highly contestable to many of us ladies and extremely unhealthy for relationships in general.

You are not a whore when something turns you on, and you are not a sinner for your perfectly natural desire to have satisfying sexual experiences. Sexuality isn’t normal for men and wrong or weird for women. We are all biological creatures with bodies that know they need to reproduce to continue the species.

2) No one is entitled to your sexuality.

Furthermore, a man being a man does not make him the owner of your sexuality.

Actually, let’s just go ahead and end this discussion without focusing on gender roles or stereotypes at all. Let’s talk about people having relationships with other people.

No matter how large your partner’s sexual appetite is, they are not entitled to your body. They do not own your body. No one is entitled to constant sexual satisfaction. Particularly in an actual relationship, sex is both physical and emotional. If one partner is not physically or emotionally at a place to have sex, it isn’t for them to just “get over it” so that the other partner doesn’t have to suffer a night without.

I’m not saying that you should disregard your partner’s physical needs. But you have physical needs as well, which are often tied to emotional needs. Maybe your physical needs include a certain amount of space or nights in which you just go to bed holding each other. They’re still valid.

In summary, what I hope you take away from this post is this: the sexual aspect of any relationship should be a consensual compromise that acknowledges the wants and needs of both individuals. Never one person staying “on deck” or "in check" for the other. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Homophobia and the War of the Words

Words have a lot of power.

Of course, the words we say to others directly can nurture or hurt their feelings, thoughts, and self-image. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Our choice of words can turn what could have been a constructive conversation into a destructive argument. They can represent or misrepresent ideas. They can open or close both minds and hearts.

And that’s why this post is about a word: homophobia.

It may seem pretty straightforward. Homophobic people are those with an unwarranted fear of homosexuals. But as the debate over LGBT+ rights rages on, this word has picked up a lot of weight. It’s a sharp word, the user often indicating a certain closed-mindedness or hatefulness that the one being labeled may find insulting.

Thus, I dare ask the question:

Should we call everyone who doesn’t “agree” with homosexuality homophobic?

I mean don’t get me wrong, I get why this word would be directed at anyone who believes that homosexuality is a sin. Regarding anything as a sin or defect does seem to entail a certain kind of “phobia.”

But here’s the thing-believing that homosexuality is not a part of God’s original intent for humanity or isn’t what is best for a particular person doesn’t require fear or hatred. Yes, it can. Oh it definitely can. But it doesn’t have to.

There are many people who concede to the taboos incorporated into the religious doctrine they find most appealing or convincing without then adopting aggression toward or disgust with whatever the taboo is on. I know many evangelical Christians who know many people who don’t identify as heterosexual and who treat those people like normal people.

There are parents who are heart broken by their child’s sexual identity but love them no less and treat them no differently. There are friends who “don’t agree” with other friends’ sexuality but talk, laugh, and fight with them just like the rest of the people they hang out with. And there are perfect strangers who might not have voted in support of homosexual marriage but would never treat other strangers disrespectfully or even feel it appropriate to discuss their objections when seeing said strangers with their partners at work, the mall, or wherever.

I’m not saying that it doesn’t suck that many people see LGBT+ folks as different, influenced by the sinful nature, or anything else or than ordinary people just being people. And I’m not saying that homophobia doesn’t exist.

On the contrary....what I’m saying is that because homophobia DOES exist and has very real consequences on multiple levels and all over the world, we should diagnose it correctly that we may treat it effectively. Trying to force people into changing their beliefs by insulting them doesn’t work and directing aggression at people who haven’t directed it at us won’t help them see through our eyes.

As someone who identifies as bisexual, I don’t want to force anyone to believe what I believe. Of course I would like it if they did. And of course I will attempt to communicate the reasons behind my worldview in the hopes that others will consider it. I would love to live in a world where no one thinks anything is “wrong” with me because I’m not straight. But I also want to live in a world where everyone is free to think what they think as long as they treat other human beings like human beings.

I guess in the end my request is not that we stop using the word. But like I said, it is a weighty one with a sharp edge. Thus, my request is simply this: watch where you point that thing. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

3 Unnatural Things Women Do Because of Feminism

I’ve not been very active lately since I’ve been preoccupied with moving to Scotland for grad school, starting grad school, and finishing up a very time and energy consuming scholarship application. But I’m officially settled in and back at the blog! And today, I’d like to discuss three things that the outlandish realm of feminism has inspired some of my fellow womenfolk to do against their feminine nature.
1) Not shaving

As absurd as it sounds, there are women walking among us more civilized creatures who do not shave. Not the armpit hair, not the leg hair....not even those moderately noticeable hairs that can sometimes crop up around the naval. Feminism has these women believing that appreciation for a hairless female body reflects an arbitrary and even unfair standard which our modern society holds for us. And to that I ask: why would we have finally decided to start doing it if it weren’t in our nature this whole time?

2) Casual Sex

Everyone knows that men are the more sexually veracious of the two genders. It’s only natural that men would be too physical to control their own thoughts and desires while women long only to attach themselves to one man. A man making a lewd joke at, following, or otherwise harassing a women who is scantily clad? What else could you expect from him? Men are so sexual they cannot control themselves, while women desire monogamy so direly they are willing to bear with men and their weaknesses. How could such an arrangement possibly result from the cultural conditioning of a male-dominated society as the feminazis claim?

And now the aftershock of the “sexual revolution” has women of all kinds engaging in hook-ups and swiping right on Tinder. The only explanation: feminism makes women think they want things they don’t really want.

Feminism even has women believing they want to engage in dangerous contact sports. Instead of preserving the beautiful delicate features that all of us of the fairer sex are of course born with, they rebel against their nature in favor of sweat, concussions, and grass stains. I don’t really need to explain why this is’s all too obvious. Seriously, when have you ever heard of women tackling each other outside of sexy, panty-clad pillow fights? Nothing else is natural.

Okay, okay, let’s get serious for a minute. Obviously I’m being a bit snarky here. But unfortunately, each of the sarcastic points above was inspired by something I’ve read, heard, or seen in the real world.  

And let’s face it...whichever side of the fence you’re on, you have to concede a substantial amount of power to culture and ideas. If the feminist movement could make women chase after casual sex when that isn’t what we are wired to want-that is powerful. But if the long ideological history of a misogynistic society can influence women to suppress and be blind to their own sexual desires-that is powerful as well!

The stone I’m hoping to put in your shoe is this: what is more likely? That a movement which basically says “Hey, you should just go ahead and do what you want no matter what others think” would make human beings go haywire doing things they don’t actually have any natural desire to do? Or that the pressures of fitting into society and adhering to its interwoven worldview could indeed give human beings a distorted view of their own nature?

For me, the second is much more plausible. And honestly, if we could learn to recognize and break free from the expectations we were never meant to have for ourselves or others, the world would probably be a much better place.

Feel free to comment-but keep it civil, please!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Confederate Flag: Every American's Heritage

Picture from

I’ve been quiet for over month now as I’ve been working fulltime then coming home to stressful to-do lists related to grad school, and because I’ve been trying to transition the blog to a website before posting again. But the transition is proving to be more arduous than I had hoped and things keep coming up that I’d like to comment on, so here I am.

Specifically, I’d really like to put my two cents in concerning the current Confederate flag controversy. There’s been a lot said on this already, and the issue is certainly more complicated than simply “if you support the flag, you’re racist.”

I understand that there is a debate concerning the south’s motivation for attempting to secede. Some would argue that slavery was only one in a host of state’s rights issues, and was not the sole reason that young men, many of whom came from poor families that couldn’t even afford slaves, chose to take up arms and risk their lives. Many would also argue that the Confederate flag can be waved as a sign of southern pride and heritage rather than prejudice or hatred.

The purpose of this blog is not to investigate history and modern interpretations of it. Nor is it an attempt to label those who would argue for the flag as a symbol of heritage to be a pack of liars. As a matter of fact, for the purpose of the point I’d like to make here we can give those folks the benefit of a doubt.

Let’s discuss the flag in that a symbol of heritage. I can see that. As a matter of fact, I emphatically agree.

But that’s the very issue. The Confederate flag is a huge piece of America’s heritage. It’s a symbol from a very important part of our history...our Civil War. A war that tore a fledgling nation in two and threatened to destroy the new country that so many had died to create just the century before.

The Confederate battle flag a part of everyone’s heritage, not just white people and not just white southerners. Many people died fighting for it, and many people died fighting against it. For many people it promised freedom from the Union, but for many others it threatened to bar the freedom to live and dream and act as human beings rather than a pieces of property. 

Yes, it makes many feel regional pride and reminds them of the land their ancestors died to protect. But for the majority of our country’s African American population, it stands for a war that was fought at least in part to keep them in slavery. And even to other whites, it represents the rebellion their ancestors died to quell.

It represents a piece of everyone’s history, it makes everyone feel something, it harkens back to many view points of the American past.

Now am I saying that people don’t have the right to express themselves? No. Am I saying that anyone has the right to not be offended? No.

Firstly, this isn’t just “removing everything that offends someone,” as one of my Facebook friends so painfully put it. The flag is not simply "something that offends someone." That is both an inaccurate and insensitive way to refer to a symbol that reminds millions of people of the inequality that still effects their socioeconomic status today and reminds even more of us of the racial tensions we are so pained to see dividing our beloved nation.

Secondly, this isn’t just an issue of American citizens expressing themselves. The debate has largely focused on Confederate flags in public areas, such as the flag now being removed from the grounds of the South Carolina State House.

Basically, it comes down to this: to campaign for the Confederate flag to remain in public areas is not simply to champion a symbol which has positive associations for you. It’s to stick a middle finger right up at the rest of us, black and white, who have negative associations with the flag.

You’re not just saying “my heritage is important.” What you’re saying is “my heritage is more important and has more of a right to be seen than yours.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Changes are coming and I need your help!

So, there are some changes coming soon to An Unsettled Voyage, and I need the help of my readership to make the right ones!

First of all, I’ll be switching form Blogger to self-hosting my own domain. So basically I’ll have my own website. This is something that most bloggers who are serious about their writing consider to be an essential and professional move.

But that change will entail other changes. And these are the ones I need you to help me with.

1) Topic: Travel and/or social issues?

I originally started this blog as a travel blog, but it has evolved into more than that. As you know, I often discuss modern social or political topics such as racism and feminism.

I personally want to keep the option open to post about my travels, since I’m certainly not done with them. 

When you read Unsettled Voyage, do you stick to either travel posts or social commentary posts, or both? Does the presence of either topic make you less likely to read posts on the other?

2) Name

I definitely want to change the name while I’m at it. “An Unsettled Voyage” is a bit cumbersome and I’d like something a bit shorter and more succinct. However, I’m hesitant to undertake a complete rebranding. I’m thinking of changing it to simply “Unsettled,” as I talk about both my travels as an unsettled twenty-something as well as complex issues that still need to be discussed and debated and are thus, in a different way, unsettled.

Does that make sense and sound good? If not, please feel free to offer a suggestion (no, I can’t compensate you financially ;P)!

3) Layout

Some of you who have been reading for a while may have noticed recent changes in the background/general layout. I’m making it a bit more sterile for the sake of being clean and more professional. Good choice or no? Also, guy folks and tom boys...does the coral and blue-green color scheme make you feel like it’s a “girly” blog?

Alright...these are all my thoughts for now. Feel free to post your opinion here, on the Facebook page, or in a private message! Thanks so much!