Aside from it being Valentine’s Day, February 14 was also the day of the One Billion Rising campaign, which aims to end violence against women. Violence is cyclical, so it should be no surprise that many incarcerated women and men were also once victims of physical, emotional and sexual violence at some point in their lives. To combat the cycle of violence and break the hold that violence and victimization has had on their lives, male and female inmates at a prison in San Francisco took part in a dance project sponsored by the One Billion Rising project. Dance may seem like a rather ephemeral way to address such heady issues, but for the inmates that participated in the program, dance provided a metaphorical way to escape their own feelings of pain, victimization and shame and a powerful physical release to shake off the chains of incarceration. “We have mothers and sister and daughters and women in the world who are affected by this every minute of every day,” said one inmate of the event. “As a man, I promise you, I will stand up and be a role model.” Let’s hope that sentiment spreads. [YouTube]
When you live in New York City, it’s impossible not to find yourself inadvertently in the middle of someone else’s crazy. Sometimes it’s a domestic dispute and sometimes it’s a person in the throes of a psychotic break — either due to mental illness or substance use. You learn to assess these situations as best as possible and take your best guess as to whether to call the police or keep the hell out of it. This becomes even more difficult when you find yourself trapped in a subway car with a threatening situation. This happened to me this morning.
A visibly intoxicated 30-something woman got on my train. I’m guessing she was intoxicated because of the water bottle full of what looked and smelled like whiskey she was carrying and the way she was stumbling and slurring. As she pushed her way onto my subway car, she began ranting immediately. This happens a lot — ranters on the train. You usually move as far away from them as you can, avoid eye contact and hope for the best. It’s harder at rush hour when the train is crowded, as it was this morning. My personal motto when it comes to crazies on the train is: “Don’t poke the mad dog.” Keep reading »
Hello from out here in Man Card America, where proving your masculinity to the dude-friends who are vigilantly looking to revoke your “Man Card” if you get caught engaging in unmanly activities like being scared, doing what your girlfriend wants to do sometimes, enjoying a song by a woman, or drinking the wrong kind of cheap light beer is an ongoing campaign. If you look at the advertisements of the past several years, you’d think that having your Man Card revoked was, like, a real thing that could actually happen. Keep reading »
I love guns. I’m from West Texas — most of us harbor respect for guns, if not outright love.
I vacillate between the high sixties and the mid eighties, which is good for a woman who only gets to shoot trap once a year. I keep about the same record as my father, who shoots competitively and is a former homicide and narcotics detective.
My mother’s hips and knees can’t take the standing around anymore, but for most of her life she was just as good a shot as my father.
She smiles knowingly every time I hit a sporting clay.
“It’s because you’re a woman,” is her theory. “You have a lower center of gravity than men, which gives you a more solid stance.” Keep reading »
This morning, something weird happened: I woke up at 5:30 a.m. as alert as if I had been mainlining espresso. Anyone who knows me knows waking up at even 8 a.m. is a struggle for me. When I couldn’t fall back asleep, I got out of bed to shower and do my hair and makeup. It was still not yet 7 o’clock. So I sized up my overflowing hamper and decided I’d drop off my dirty laundry at the laundromat before work. I loaded my bag into my “old lady cart,” grabbed only my housekeys, and head out my front door in the drizzly morning.
That’s when I saw a guy roughing up a woman right there on the street. Keep reading »