Monthly Archives: October 2013

Round Table Discussion!

Many of you were really interested in the round table discussion today, and as promised here is the PowerPoint for it. Hope you guys enjoy!

In case you are unaware of the discussion, it deals with Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party”, which was completed in 1979. It was a collaborative piece that documents the women throughout Western Civilization. Please check out the presentation. Professor Martin did a wonderful job and presents a great overview of the installation.  Enjoy!

Link to the Presentation

* This presentation was done by Professor Martin, NVCC

Alternative Relationships 1: The Open Folks

I thought about talking about this, and then decided against it, but after seeing someone draw a heart with “Polyamory” inside of it on the bathroom stall; I decided it was my subject for today, maybe one of many.

Polyamorous, is very simply put : the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time.

Webster says  so: Polyamory

The idea of multiple relationships usually falls into the realm of some Mormon joke about Sister Wives or some variation thereof, however there are people out there who do engage in multiple emotional relationships. In the article, “Polyamory: When Three Isn’t A Crowd” written by Emanuella Grinberg, she looks at both polyamory and specifically a triad between a married male and female, and their male partner.  Yes, that is right folks, this lady is involved with two men, which breaks the stereotype that there is a man with 10 or so wives.

CNN Article

This has been a big year for recognizing, especially in the legal realm that heterosexual monogamous relationships are not the only relationships that exist. There are homosexual couples, and bisexual couples,  and now coming to light are non-monogamous relationships.

Regardless of how people feel about this, the fact remains that people have these relationships, and it does seem like people are willing to be more open about them.  These folks from the article have done a lot in the Atlanta are in terms of promoting awareness and education for people practicing poly.

My personal motto as long as people are adults and consenting of their own free will, then they are adults, and can make those decisions. I know poly makes people uncomfortable, since the comments section of the article devolved into a debate about the moral implications of relationships for the future.  I think that misses the whole, “poly is not for everyone” or “poly is a lot of work”  that was reiterated again and again in the article. I don’t know them personally, but  it did seem as though they were merely trying to bring awareness to the fact that there are people out their who love differently, and it is just that, love.  More importantly, I think they were trying to say that they too are people and have feelings and don’t want to be ostracized for living what is generally a mundane life, outside of their multiple partners.

I guess I wanted to write this piece because one of the responses to the bathroom stall writing said, ” Eww”  and another said, ” No aids please.”  I found both to be bothersome, but the latter is reminiscent, and not really all that long ago, of how people assumed and still do that being gay will give you aids.  It would appear that those things that deviate  from the dominant heterosexual paradigm, are diseased and malformed.

If half of what the article states is true, it seems as though these folks put in a lot of effort to communicate and be open about what they are feeling, and going through, and letting each other know what is or isn’t working. I don’t know about you guys, but that sounds like “normal” relationship stuff, or at the very least,  stuff you should be doing, whether you have 1 or 5 partners.

Would love to know your thoughts!

We Can Do Better

Violence Against Women

This video has been out for a bit, but I still think it is something that is important to discuss, and will continue to be important to discuss for quite sometime.   Jackson Katz brings up a point that I think a lot of people who are close to domestic, sexual, and relationship violence, have muddled with over and over again: Why is this solely on me? Why is the perpetrator not even mentioned? Why are my actions/history being questioned? Notice where all the focus is not being directed?

He helps present some clarity to why this happens, but also addresses steps to fixing it, which seems to be a rarity as of late. He openly states how pervasive victim blaming is in our society.  I know there are so many critics who hate that term, but I would like to ask, what else would you like to call it when someone is attacked, and then they are asked a plethora of questions to figure out what they were doing to attract this negative (violent)  attention.

Katz made my day by using sentence structure to demonstrate how men are often erased from the discussion, and thus placing the responsibility on the victim.   He writes out five sentences:

“John beat Mary”

“Mary was beaten by John”

“Mary was beaten”

“Mary was battered”

“Mary is a battered woman”

This reminds me of a poetry workshop, where a professor said, when you try to convey your message, make sure you are using the words effectively. If you can make a situation active, do so, by making it passive you take away some of the importance or shift the meaning behind what was intended.  What Katz is writing is not poetry, but the same could be said here.  With both our language, and the way we discuss things, we have changed John into an obsolete figure. By the time we get down to the end of the examples, we could ask, “John who?”

He also discusses the role institutions play in the overarching societal issue of sexual violence. I took a class on this, and the anecdotes were chilling and horrifying, especially when you read about the people who knew what was going on, and the pains that were taken to cover up these awful happenings.  Wouldn’t it be easier and better for society as a whole if we held people accountable and changed the way we talk, examine, and deal with these tragedies?

Katz called the role institutions play, a “leadership problem”, which is quite genius.  I am inclined to agree with him. There is a lack of leadership, of strong people in positions of power saying, “This is wrong.” Instead, we often they see them taking care of one another and trying to hide these horrible things that happen. It is apparent that they KNOW something is wrong, otherwise they would not go to the lengths they do in order to cover it up.

I like that he encourages us to work together to bring about change, and how he points out how our actions do indeed play an important role in the youths that witness these actions.

Overall, I think this was a wonderful piece, and hopefully it will inspire some people to lead.


Community Colleges: Affordable, Available, So What’s The Barrier?

The AAUW or the American Association of University Women of Virginia Northern District Program is presenting this amazing talk from Dr. Catherine Hill, where she will be talking about ” challenges  facing students and parents and opportunities in STEM fields, and how community colleges provide more women with a reliable path to opportunity and economic security.”

The rising cost four year institutions has created an influx in the number of students (whether they are fresh out of high school or further into their adulthood). Dr. Hill presents an pertinent study and I encourage folks to go out and attend.

Here are the details:

The talk takes place at Oakton Library and it is FREE and there will be FOOD !

From Route 66 East or West:

Take exit 60,  Rt. 123, going north toward Oakton and Vienna.

Turn left on Hunter Mill Rd.

Turn left onto Lynnhaven Pl.

From Reston and Dulles:

Take the Reston Parkway (RT. 602) South

To the Dulles Toll Rd. (RT.267) East toward DC

Take exit 14 onto Hunter Mill Rd. , turn right to go South

After approx .3 miles, turn left to continue South on Hunter Mill Rd.

After approx 4.4 miles, turn right onto Lynnhaven Pl.

I encourage people to go out and attend. I was able to meet with some of the women from the AAUW this week and they are lovely people.

Sexual Assault/ Domestic Violence / Stalking Awareness Training

Tomorrow one of our amazing police officers will be leading a training session with a member of SAVE to  help bring awareness and provide safety tips to situations surrounding Sexual Assault, domestic violence, and stalking.  A few weeks ago we had a great round table discussion about this, and this is being extended through this training and awareness program. Everyone is encouraged to attend, and become informed.

Here are some of the topics that will be discussed:

How to avoid sexual assaults, domestic, violence, and stalking

What to do if you are a victim

What to do if someone you know is a victim

Police guidance on relevant topics (i.e. emergency protective orders, police reporting, options, and more)

Resources in your community

I encourage you to come on out to the event it will be held on the Tyler Building in room 112.

Review of White Women, Black Hairstyle

Someone linked an article on Facebook about this artist named Endia Beal, and I could not control my compulsion to click on the article and see what this talented lady had come up with.

Like the title of this post implies, Beal has taken photos of 40+ white women with what are typically seen as black hairstyles. The name of the project is “Can I Touch It?”  I love the idea of this project, especially at a time when so many black females debate on whether or not to wear their hair naturally. In a lot of professionals settings it is seen as unprofessional to wear your natural hair. Yes, there are ways to make your hair fit into a more mainstream, “acceptable”, but I always wonder why is it necessary for me to alter my natural hair in order to fit someone else’s ideal, however, that is another post.

Beal captures these women with these hairstyles, and is hoping to extend that  project so that these women, or women like them enter the corporate world with these hairstyles. According to David Rosenberg, “Beal is an artist looking to open a dialogue among people of different gender, race, and generations about the ways in which we express ourselves, specifically in a corporate environment.”  I applaud her for using her art to create dialogue; I think she is being both creative and savvy in bringing this discussion about.

Important discussions aside, these are some amazing photos, and it is fascinating to see how the styles looked on the women.

Here is a link to the photos and article:

Also, this is her website that is under construction. I definitely think it is worth checking from time to time so we can see what she is up to:

Against His Will

Last week CNN featured a surprising article by Sara LeTrent on the little talked about subject of female on male rape. I think the article was a good step for many reasons: it discussed something that is usually ignored and ridiculed; it indeed stated that it is something that happens, not some slanderous myth from jaded men, and once again it was discussed (not discussing is what we as a society have been doing for a very long time, and we have seen where that has gotten us).

The article even featured a male survivor who shared his story, and how he struggled to come to terms with what happened to him, as well as his journey forward, which involves helping others come to terms with their own trauma.

I must say that the article surprised me with how it brought up Chris Brown and his interview where he talked about his own early sexual experiences. Sarah LeTrent highlights how this often seen as a conquest, something men are to be proud of, because it shows their sexual prowess at such a young age.

LeTrent made a lot of pertinent points,  however I do disagree with this statement, “Were you aroused?’  is a question posed to male victims, St. John says. ‘You don’t hear it with female rape victims. It’s an interesting question that men get asked.”   Women face those same questions, and I think it is an irrelevant question.  At the heart of the issue are people who feel like they are entitled to others bodies, regardless of gender, and blatantly ignoring consent.

Here is the article  to read it first hand: