Tag Archives: feminism

Rule #5: Thou Shalt Know How to Protect Thyself

Women’s self-defense is something I am incredibly passionate about. Did you know that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime? That 60% of sexual assaults are never reported to the police? That 88% of sexual assault victims knew their attacker? That 15/16 rapists will never spend a day in jail?

I am passionate about this partially because I am a sexual assault survivor. Though I sometimes still have trouble convincing myself that it wasn’t my fault, I do know that things could have been a lot worse if I didn’t have some basic self-defense skills that I learned from women’s self-defense class I took a few years ago. I actually took the class somewhat by accident, because I was naive enough to think it would never happen to me. But it did. It wasn’t rainy or night like in the movies – in fact, it was a bright, sunny afternoon. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I was lucky because I knew some basic moves that, also luckily, were enough to scare off my attacker.

Defend yourself -- avoidance, anger essential elements for protection

photo via Fort Rucker

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re being assaulted, here are just a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your knees and elbows pack the most punch in terms of force (you’re also the least likely to injure yourself if you use your elbow or knee).
  • You know that self-defense bit from Miss Congeniality? It’s not bad – Solar plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin! The last two are especially good to aim for.
  • Make lots of noise if you can. Yell something – anything – it will get people’s attention.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings – if you’re in an unfamiliar environment, never go anywhere alone unless you’re absolutely sure it is safe (ask the locals!)
  • Trust your gut. If you feel a situation is unsafe, get out. Your instinct is always your bet.
  • If you are sexually assaulted, report it immediately. Even if they don’t catch your attacker, your report may help in the future if your attacker continues to attack other women.
Part of being the best woman you can be is knowing how to protect your awesome self. The effects of sexual assault can be devastating and long-lasting. You can’t know if it’ll happen to you or not – so the best thing you can do for yourself is be prepared. Don’t make the mistake I made and think it can’t happen to you. It can happen to anybody. So prepare yourself, and know how to protect yourself.
Here are some good resources:

Slutwalk London

photo via msmornington
Go forth and protect your amazing self.
xoxo,
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Rule #3: Thou Shalt Scorn Peer Pressure

As human beings, we ladies are a social bunch of creatures. We like doing things together. Eating, shopping, going to the movies, and getting ready for a night on the town – there are lots of things in life that we would rarely dream of doing alone. But sometimes, being social gets us in trouble. We do things in groups that we normally wouldn’t do by ourselves. Think about any movie or TV show that you’ve watched recently (even last night’s GOP debate) – nestled in the script there is undoubtedly drama that’s the result of peer pressure.

But hold on a minute. If you really stop to think about it – peer pressure isn’t always bad. When we surround ourselves with good, positive, well-meaning individuals, then as a collective we will surely make good, positive, well-meaning decisions. When we seek sobriety, we seek sober company. When we seek knowledge, we seek a teacher wise in their ways. In life we consistently turn to peers who claim to (and often do) know more than we do about what we seek. Still, sometimes the best intentions can be the most misguided, and can proffer the worst results for everyone. That’s why, as an EDF, you’ve got to know how to hold your own and how to stay grounded as an individual caught up in a sea of collective moments.

Resist peer pressure. All the cool kids are doing it

photo via busyprinting

If you’re familiar with Carl Jung, you’re familiar with the idea of a collective unconscious. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is an inherited set of thoughts that is identical in all human beings. While collectivity is something many argue we cannot and should not escape, the idea that we can share moments, ideas, memories, and even a collective unconscious does not negate the fact that individuals make individual choices about how they operate in the collective setting.

I have a friend who enjoys going out and having a good time with friends once or twice a month. She might have one drink too many, and the next day she doesn’t feel so well. We all make mistakes from time to time, and I never think her a worse person (or myself a better person) for having these hungover moments. But what drives me absolutely insane is that she never owns up to why she gets into these situations. She always blames it on others. “I had to drink – everyone else was drinking. Guys kept buying me drinks, and I couldn’t say no.”

Now, I don’t yell often. But I will yell this: YOU CAN ALWAYS SAY NO!!!!!

In case you skip over words in all caps, I shall re-emphasize: You can always say no!!! Always always always. There is never a moment in your life where you have to do something because someone asks you* to do it, or because you think everyone wants or expects you to do it, or because it’s “the only thing to do”. There are always at least two choices in every situation. Which path you choose is entirely an individual decision, and the intense collective moments are the moments where it is most important to keep this in mind.

If you do make a decision that you regret the next day, or the next week, the worst thing you could possibly do is say “I had to do it.” Honey, that’s just pathetic. Don’t let other people make decisions for you. And if you do, at least own up to the fact that it’s your own decision to let other people make decisions for you. You let them do it once, or maybe even three or four times, but luckily this is not a vicious circle. As soon as you take control of your own actions, life will be much more livable.

So, next time you find yourself in the middle of a group that’s about to do – or not do – something that you know is morally wrong, or you know you will regret, take a second to stop and think. You should be able to confidently answer these three questions at any crossroads:

  1. Why should I do this?
  2. Could this cause intentional or unintentional harm to anyone or anything (including myself)?
  3. Is this what I want to do right now, or is there a wiser way to spend my time?

Memo to yourself: you are in charge of you. Let this one thought guide all your decisions, and you’ll find yourself making much better choices.

xoxo,

* except maybe if you’re still living with your parents and they ask you to take out the garbage or clean the litter box

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Power Monday: Madonna

First let me take a step back: What the heck is Power Monday? EDF is going to kick off the week by choosing a real-life Exceptionally Desirable Female and highlighting exactly what makes them so amazing.

In honor of this year’s VMAs, yours truly went on a search for females in the history of music videos. I buried my nose in Google and found:

  • a Wikipedia article on the history of music videos that said nothing about women;
  • lots of articles on sex-role stereotyping and visual exploitation of women in music videos;
  • links to the “hottest” music videos, “featuring 2 beautiful women making out,” or the like.

When you think about it, this isn’t too surprising. I think of the music videos of my past, my memory churns up images of skinny girls in bikinis, skinny girls in bikinis on motorcycles, skinny girls in bikinis rolling around in questionable substances. I don’t think I have to spell out what the common themes are here.

Of course, there’s a fine line between exploitative and sexy. There’s nothing wrong with struttin’ your stuff, especially if you’ve got it goin’ on to the degree Shakira does inher video for “Gypsy,”  or JLo in “I’m Into You”. And of course I have to mention Gaga‘s videos, which, though she is often scantily clad, belong under the category of art more than just about any other artists’ videos today.

That said, there is a huuuuuge difference between these and the way other videos portray women. For example, the video for “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” (Mike Posner feat. Lil Wayne) is disgusting. You couldn’t pay me enough money to be one of the women in that video, who act disinterested in Posner and Lil Wayne until they flip a magical switch, emitting an obnoxious noise that is apparently a universal cue for women to jump whatever bones happen to be lying in front of them. Not to mention Lil Wayne’s feature begins with the oh-so-memorable line, “I got a leather couch.” Yeah? So? You ain’t gonna see me on it any time soon.

I could keep up this rant, but I’m getting off-topic. Despite the fact that my search yielded very little information on the female side of music video history, I finally decided that Madonna was the perfect first-ever Power Monday EDF.

Madonna 3 by David Shankbone

Why she kicks butt: Well, she’s Madonna. ‘Nuf said.  She released her first single, “Everybody,” in 1982, and since then hasn’t stopped rockin’ everything from the stage to the silver screen.  And if there’s anyone that SHOULD be in the history of music videos, it’s Madonna. She’s won 20 MTV Video Music Awards. One of the twenty is the lifetime achievement “Video Vanguard Award,” which she took home in 1986. The short story: not many stars can claim to have the sort of epic career she has had.

10 things you might not know (source)

  • She was born in Bay City, Michigan. Midwest respresent!
  • She’s been vegetarian since age 15.
  • She’s been in 22 flims.
  • There’s a 13-foot statue of Madonna in Pacentro, Italy, where here grandparents immigrated from.
  • Her true name is…Madonna! Yep, she was born with it.
  • Gwenyth Paltrow was her maid of honor in 2000.
  • She designed a clothing line for H&M in 2007.
  • In 2010 she started a chain of fitness centers called “Hard Candy”.
  • Sting is her son Rocco’s godfather.
  • She published her first children’s book in 2003 and has since published nine other books.

Here’s to a happy Monday and a fabulous week!
xoxo,
Queen B.

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What is this, anyway?

EDF is what it is: a blog on how to be an Exceptionally Desirable Female (EDF), written by Exceptionally Desirable Female numero uno, Queen B (that’s me).

What does it take to be an EDF, you ask? This definition is one for the 21st century. It’s one for the go-get ’em, break boundaries (and the glass ceiling while you’re at it) ladies that this world is brimming with right at this very moment. I’m not purely talking about the JWOWWs and Anna Wintours of the world, although they make the cut. I’m talking about the JWOWWs and Anna Wintours…AND the Hillary Clintons, the Henrietta Yurchencos, the Tristan Prettymans, the Mother Teresas. The world-famous; the neighborhood famous. The loud bold; the quiet bold. The instant-domino-effect-ground-shaking fury; the silent fury. This blog will celebrate any woman who knows she’s powerful and knows how to use that power to make this world a better place for everyone around her.

There are no specific qualifications to be an EDF. There is no maximum weight or BMI, there is no beauty standard, there is no IQ standard. Whoever you are, whatever you look like, whether parts of you are plastic or inked or modified in other ways, if you consider yourself female  – then you have the power to harness your inner EDF that’s waiting to come out.

Who am I? Some might say I’m under-qualified because I won’t be able to tell if your bag is worth 3 grand or if it’s a $20 rip-off from Chinatown. Others would say I’m under-qualified because I’ve had it pretty good in life. I’m white (this matters, yes, today it still matters). I come from an upper-middle class background. I went to an elite private all-women’s college in New England. Basically, I’m hot stuff. But let me tell you, that doesn’t mean I don’t know my shit. Regardless of what people could say about me, let me say that I know what I’m talking about. I know what it takes to turn anybody – and I mean anybody – into The Woman that everyone notices in the room. The one everyone wants. The one nobody argues with. The EDF.

One thing is sure: there has never been a better time to be a woman in this world. As women, we need to take advantage of the power we have as individuals and the power we have as a group to lift one another up all over the globe. This is your time. This is our time. We can make this world a better place. This blog will show you how to make it happen – how to make YOU happen. You got what it takes?

xoxo,

Queen B.

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