“Down With the Dick!” or: The Power of Female Sexuality in Literature

What does the phrase “true love” mean?  No, really.  I don’t mean the all-encompassing, sweeping, romantic type of love.  I mean just the particular word combination.  True and love are both positive things. Truth implies honesty, as does love…Love is truth.  To love is to reveal some part of yourself, even if it’s just a personal revelation.  Using the phrase true love is much like the concept of free will.  It’s a double-positive, and it’s unnecessary.   Maybe I’m just being nitpicky, but these types of word phrasing just irritate me now.  They don’t mean what many think they mean, and they’re much too restricting. Just a thought to consider.   I first came upon this realization while looking at a shirt that I own.  It has a quote from A Midsummer’s Night Dream: “The course of true love never did run smooth”. It just stood out to me for some reason.  Anyway…

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Since this post is about female empowerment it seemed only logical to add as much male homosexuality as necessary.

On to the main reason for this post: male progression as a result of female intervention by way of their sexuality.  Specifically I want to address this theme as it appears in literature or myth. I have a few images I’m excited to delve into. But, there are  countless others;  It’ll probably be better to breeze through a few general ideas and then later get into the denser material. First up is the classic tale of King Arthur.

Primarily, I’m interested in how Arthur got his power.  His power essentially came from finding and wielding Excalibur.  Now, if that’s not a symbol for male sexuality I don’t know what is.  I mean, he can only rightfully rule his kingdom when he possesses his, um, sword?  His sword is his manhood and, in turn, his divine right to rule.  Pretty patriarchal message, eh?  But, wait, there’s more!  His sword, dominant though it is, was given to him by none other than the Lady of the Lake.   Essentially his power- his sexuality- would all amount to nothing without this mysterious woman. Even within this myth –written in a very patriarchal, religious time-period- has feminist implications. It does warrant consideration.

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Looking back on this story after all these years, it’s baffling…and hilarious.  It gets more interesting when his “true love”, Guinevere, has an affair with Lancelot, his closest companion.  According to common lore and translations, this results – perhaps indirectly- to the fall of Arthur’s kingdom. So, I suppose that Arthur’s kingdom, his “manhood” is taken from him by a woman.  Not just that, but his closest male follower was seduced by this same woman.  Never mind this subversion of the concept of “true love”, but the situation amuses me to no end.  So much power is wielded by these women- these mysterious, background women that grasp Excalibur at the hilt.  It’s just plain weird looking back at this and realizing all of these subtle – or not so subtle- elements of feminism in literature that is often regarded as male-dominated. Arguably this is a myth, and one that has been re-told countless times throughout the centuries, the earliest versions contain these elements.

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Not this

Likewise, in The Duchess of Malfi the tone is overtly feminist.  The Duchess, widowed at the beginning if the play, is just now coming to terms with the ability to finally enact her own will. This assertion of her will is the driving force of the play.  All the men around her are reacting to this assertion of womanhood.  Her newfound lover, Antonio, is strong-armed into becoming her husband. Although, it seems like he is more the bride than she.  In awe, Antonio obeys her and agrees to be her lover.  Just this simple act of dominance- of going out and acquiring what she desires- is progressive in the extreme. Likewise, her brother -Ferdinand- is forced to act because of the Duchess’ assertiveness.  Ferdinand – other than having a deep, incestuous love for his sister- cannot comprehend that a woman is capable of taking control of her body and mind.  His thoughts are anti-feminist, but his actions are affected by his sister’s womanhood. The “dagger” that he threatens her with if she were to re-marry is just another facet of this desperate struggle to, uh, dominate her womanhood. Although all of his actions are an attempt to subdue his sister, he is ultimately a victim to her power.  Yes, she is killed near the end, but he was the one who truly suffered.  Obsession is weakened and possession cannot be achieved in the face of a strong enough Will.  And, in this case, it happens to be a woman’s Will.

Furthermore, the short story “The Storm” by Kate Chopin further embraces these feminist concepts. Calixta, the protagonist, is the embodiment of female empowerment. Her passionate –yet brief- affair with Bobinôt is a protest of the societal restrictions of her time.  Allowing herself to suspend her fear and embrace the desire. If her desire, if anyone’s desire, is so great that the culmination of said desire leads to the storm that Calixta is feeling- why the fuck would you not act upon the desire? Bobinôt is a paper sailboat in Calixta’s storm- entirely subject to her power.  This whole story is just that!  It’s an obvious protest against convention, commanded morality, and brutally imposed male sexuality.  And the result is an expression of sensations- physical and emotional- too powerful to be contained in a bland, literal context.

Maybe...

It very well may be

I don’t fucking know; maybe I’m getting worked up over nothing.  But damn, there just so much there!  I mean, I know these are just summaries, but I feel like I’m getting so much out of it.  That’s what really matters, I suppose. I’m definitely going to come back sometime, maybe add a paragraph on Paradise Lost, some more Shakespeare, and some Rumi….yet, there are so many stories, so much that I would love to write. Maybe I could just churn out a few pages, just going off on some weird tangents….not that I don’t do that already…  Hell, I may even do that. Spring break is next week and I have will finally have free time to breathe and to think.

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…and sleep

Anyway, that’s the whole thing about relationships, isn’t it? The women wield the power more often than not.  Women are designed by nature to be more selective in partners.  This discerning nature is a biological necessity that has become deeply-rooted in our culture. Women choose to whom they give their love- the most important, sincere thing to give.  The willing gift of her body and mind, the sheathing of the sword, is more beautiful an expression than she could otherwise falsify. Obviously all of these authors realize this since it’s so painfully prominent in literature.  And it is because this power has been recognized, that women have been so subdued for hundreds – if not thousands- of years.  Women have more restrictions and taboos placed on them men ever have.  That’s just how it is.  Those who have this power are doomed to either totally seize it or relinquish it entirely.  Medea, (from the Greek play) , The Lady of the Lake, Guinevere, Duchess, Calixta, Eve, Titiana, Adrianna(A Comedy of Errors), Hermione: all of these women had, and implemented, this power. Their Love, their desire, and their Will were too great to be repressed or marginalized.

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My Life in Motion: Diary of an Unrefined Soul

I know that it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. I guess I’m going through a bit of a dry spell( in more ways than one).  I’d like to get my writing kind of kick-started again by writing a simple journal past.  I mean, that’s all that blogging boils down to- blogging your thoughts, right?  Well, I hope so at any rate…

My life is insane- simply put.  This past year (or even the past 2-3) has changed all of my previous conceptions and ways of viewing life. Only two relationships, one 4 year and another 1.5 year term, and I have grown so much since then.   I still give into my impulses, I still binge/purges, I still have trouble eating, and I still have self-loathing and insecurities.  Yet, I’m more grown, more happy, more myself than I have ever been.  I have gained a sense of confidence and sense of self that I thought impossible to achieve.

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I’m almost there…

I’m pretty hot shit.  I don’t say that to be conceited or arrogant- although to a certain degree that naturally comes with confidence.  I’m ok with that though.  Tying into my previous post on Vanity and Modesty, I think my view on this matter is quite clear.  This past relationship has made this all the more obvious to me.  If you find yourself in a relationship that causes more doubt(not the good kind) and pain than would occur otherwise, there really is no sense in remaining in that situation.  There is no logic- again, I understand that there is no logic in matters of the heart and human expression- and no legitimate reason for it.  Although, as a recently viewed movie so eloquently put it: “We accept the love that we think we deserve.”

The accuracy of this statement is actually baffling.  Other than the questionability of the word “deserve”, this quote strictly refers to the perceived necessity of another’s love and acceptance versus self-love.  The only love we really deserve is our own. Cheesy? Maybe.  True? Most assuredly. We are the only person whose actions we have any control over, the only feelings and thoughts we can ever truly know.  Yet,  in that stark, blunt honesty we find ourselves shying away from it.  Again, just baffling, isn’t it?

Now, even with all of my self-hate and uncertainty, I have no fear of being alone.  I accept myself as I am- damaged, scared, weird, and just plain unique- and I do not need any other man (or woman, I suppose) to make me feel that.  Because, having another person in my life isn’t going to change who I am not in the most intimate and frighteningly honest of ways.  Although, I certainly do have a fear of commitment and love- I realize this.  At the same time, I don’t need another’s acceptance to go on living.  And neither do you!

Yes, you are!

Yes, you are!

Rant aside, I find myself in a situation that just shocks and frightens me beyond measure.  Two men- both of whom  harboured feelings for quite some time( one reasonably older and the other quite a bit older)- have decided that they reciprocate these feelings. Slightly suspicious, absolutely shocked, and -ultimately- flattered, I just can’t fathom the events in my life that led me to this point.  Maybe it is this new found sense of self, this new power that I have come into.  That in and of itself is terrifying.

In part this comes from the empowering nature of severing myself from a stagnant relationship.  I was in a relationship with someone whom I loved and cared for very much, but needs needs just were not attended to.  Yes, I mean this almost entirely in a sexual way.  And yes, I understand that sex is not the most important aspect of a relationship.  However, if two people cannot be together in the most intimate and honest form of expression known to humankind, then what is left?

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Problem solved.

Sweet words and empty promises?  I don’t want to hear how attractive I am, and how much you want to be with me if the actions continuously fall short.  I have deeply rooted self-hate and a distorted body image, and continuous rejection from someone who says that they do find me attractive they just, you know, don’t want to do anything physical with me more than a few times a month and in the same exact way and will not let me explore different ways of pleasing them (nothing weird or kinky, I swear).  I don’t think that’s too much to fucking ask from someone. Not to mention that I can’t force myself to be with someone who does not like my closest friend or my family, “allow” me to go out and be with friends(particularly guy friends) or even talk to me ex(who happens to be one of the closest people to me and which no animosity or desire remains) .  Yeeeeaah, that’s a no-go.  I have a car, I’m going to see the people that I love the most in the world- that I never see- as often as I can. Sorry…well actually no.  I’m not.

I think, in part, I’m just fed up with serious relationships.  Again, I’ve only been in two and have little worldly experience, but I’d rather just separate myself from that kind of  intense, serious, ready-to-settle romance. All I want is passion and desire and physical expression in its purest form.  I don’t want some sweeping, epic romance- that shit’s for queers and sparkly vampires.

My love...

….. I’m out.

I want honesty, open expression without rejection, I want someone who not just accepts me but also accepts my friends and family. And, continuing this path of stark honesty- I just want to have great sex.  Sex with someone who is just as into it as I am- who is just as ardently desirous of creating a fantastic experience as I am. As my best friend/sister so bluntly put it: I just want to get fucked.   I guess that’s true in a sense. I mean hell, the best orgasm that I can recall having was because of masturbation(an extremely new concept to me and one that I encourage everyone to participate in.)   I will repeat, I openly encourage masturbation.  Man or woman, whether you’re in a relationship or not, it’s just a better way to know your body and what you like.  And it helps work your imagination and fuels desire like no one’s business.

Anyway, I’m not going to go, you know, whore around.  That’s not me to any degree. But, I’m not going to go out searching for some…thing that society is perpetually telling me that I need to strive for.  Simply put, I want a deep, honest connection with someone.  Age is irrelevant, as is size, race, and even gender. Side note: I may or may not be bisexual.  Fuck if I know, I’m simply attracted to masculinity, intelligence, and humour.  That’s the only certain thing in regards to my perceived sexuality- which is probably 80% heterosexual.  Okay, rant over.  On with Life!

EDIT:  I’m not as bitter as I had previously written.  I realize now that my previous relationship had equipped me with more tools than I had ever known.  I will write more about the previous events- unfortunate though they are- as I come to terms with how my life has recently unfolded. I still care deeply about my ex and though I cannot be responsible for his actions, I will do my utmost to be there if he should need it.

Life has these bittersweet moments that we can either wallow in or progress from.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Painting Power: Makeup as a Mating Call

Makeup is not a concept of vanity. Sure, vanity can be expressed by wearing makeup – by wanting to hide your perceived flaws. But makeup is purely a form of expression of your inner self. It’s a mating call- a way of displaying to the desired sex and others that you are sexually available. It’s just the way humans- females, specifically- portray part of your identity.

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Makeup is considered a form of mating call because it is meant to draw attention to yourself.  It accentuates the features that you want people to look at. Lipstick draws the eyes to the oh-so erogenous mouth, blush simulates sexual arousal, and eye liner and mascara focus on the eyes to draw in a connection with another person. We turn to makeup to highlight these regions when we are ready to have someone to notice them and understand the sexual connotations. When we are satisfied in our current relationship or are uninterested in pursuing a relationship, we keep these features minimalized.  Bright, gaudy colours and excessive use of makeup portrays desperation or easiness, bold, plain colours tend to draw intense passion or sexual prowess, and subtle, natural-looking makeup seeks more sensitive, long-term connections.

When done correctly, makeup can enhance your natural form and structure, while expressing your interest in others. This is why I love practicing with makeup.  I have so many different kinds because I’m looking for the perfect look- the perfect combination to draw in a man’s interest.  On another level, I’m just trying to get used to using it, so the times I actually wear the whole she-bang it looks effortless and attractive.

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Am I doing it right?

There’s nothing more attractive than a powerful woman, and makeup can be a way of expressing that power.  If you wear something that you think looks good on you, then you feel good.  That’s quite a powerful force.  It’s flattering when a confident, radiant woman is interested in a man(or a woman).  No, really. It’s power because it we are exhibiting a form of control of our inner and outer selves . We are expressing a desire to be noticed, to be unique.  The more creative you are with your display, the more likely you are to feel power. After all, it is a skill just like anything else.  It’s almost like art form. Actually, it is an art form and it represents inner power.  I have this power and you do, too.

I just now realized-after delving into my makeup stash to begin my ritual- what I was subconsciously doing.  I’m ready to announce that I have become sexually interested again, even though I had had no idea.  It makes sense, though. Considering that my relationship is severely lacking in the sex department, I would logically try to find fulfillment somewhere else.  Expressing my concerns and desires does nothing. He just gets irritated or dismissive.  I subconsciously was trying to find that fulfillment in another person.  Not that I recognize this, I guess I’m pretty okay with it.  I’m not finding my needs satisfied where I am now and my mind is all “well, maybe you can find that somewhere else.”   I shouldn’t have to hide my needs and desires; I’ve had enough of that in my life.  I have cravings just like any other person and I shouldn’t have to ignore them for the sake of someone who refuses to satisfy them.  Whatever happens will happen, but I’m ready to make my move.

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Yeah!

Lifeism

I am a lifeist.  Yeah, I know it sounds a bit off, but there really is no better way for me to put it.  I’m not a pessimist, I’m not an idealist, and I’m not even a realist (which often has negative connotations).  I put my faith in life simply being as it is, neither good nor bad.  As the term lifeist is still pretty foreign, I’m going to compile a list of characteristics or phrases that I feel best embody the concept of ‘lifeism’.

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

  1. To love is to suffer.
  2. To grow is to suffer.
  3. To live is to suffer.
  4. But, to live is also to rejoice, even in the wake of intense suffering.
  5. This rejoicing also comes with the potential for great change
  6. The strongest loves and the greatest growths are those that coincide with pain.
  7. The sweetest fruit is that which is the hardest to grow.
  8. Life will go on, regardless of your suffering.
  9. Life is in a constant flux and nothing is ever concrete.
  10. Dichotomy is the poison of life.
  11. Life is a series of moments, each one a culmination of all your previous moments and experiences.
  12. As a result of this, there is no truly “right” or “wrong” decision. Merely the best one that you feel able to make.
  13. There is nothing to gain from regret.
  14. Learn from the past, do not dwell on it.
  15. “Those who restrain desire do so because theirs os weak enough to be restrained”
  16. “Do what you will, but harm none”
  17. Acceptance of these principles will allow you to progress

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Again, this is just a loose outline of a relatively new concept.  Well, not necessarily new, but rephrased. Like I stated above, nothing is concrete and these principles have the potential to change at any time. I’m still working through the wording on some of the concepts, but generally I like what I have so far.  I like the idea of having a moral guideline for living life, but one that is defined by your own experiences and past decisions. I’d like to think that our moral guide is constantly flowing and being shaped, never the same.  This guideline is the backbone of how we may express our inner selves.  If we don’t flow and change along with life , we will always be left wanting…will always be dissatisfied.

Lifeism is the only way that I can explain my system of beliefs and ideas.  It makes so much sense to me.  Putting my faith in life- my life and the life that I see around me- and accepting the ever- changing nature of it is the only way I can find any peace.  As much as I detest grouping and categorizing beliefs, feelings, desires, and experiences,  I like having something to grasp…something to apply to myself.  While it still needs a bit of tweaking, I think this can still be applicable to almost anyone. Lifeism: it’s all around us.

On a side note…

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Repression of Human Longing

Heart pumping- warm, rich blood flows through my body. All my veins, all my muscles – aching, straining to move. My brain is frozen- encased in a layer of the most impermeable ice. All my energy is focused on the simplest of functions. Even so, I cannot breathe.  It’s as if  you reach into me -squeezing my lungs – to snatch the air within. Chest heaving, pulsating – my ribs are fit to burst. My whole body  rebels against me, yet only I bear witness.

I cannot even begin to fathom from where these thoughts spring, but somehow  these desires have quietly, yet fervently, burned into my soul all this time. Unstoked, they merely festered- like an old wound that cannot quite heal up. Oh, the many scenarios I have planned out in my head, the waking dreams that dance around the outskirts of my mind – I cannot express the sheer might of these images.  Ever the skeptic, I find myself repulsed at this weakness – this sickening, debilitating longing that unwillingly inhabits my thoughts.

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Psshh

Years of sexual and emotional repression has finally taken its toll, I suppose. Never willing to admit I had feelings or desires, I at first grew quite dissatisfied with my changing, growing body.  Now that I finally recognize myself for the power I hold, I find myself unable to express it in any fashion. Despite the wide range and scope of emotions and sensations that we humans are capable of experiencing, it feels like they have more control over us than we think.

Someone is right outside of our consciousness, just waiting to make us feel the most inconvenient things.  We so often end up getting attached to someone a bit out of our reach. This supposed “wrong kind of love” is so prevalent in our thinking. Frequently we look up to those that we have little in common with or fall for people we cannot be with.  Though, whether that is ‘because of’ or ‘in spite of’ I cannot say. Either way, it is one of the most unpredictable elements of the human experience.

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Oh?

Somehow we usually seem to know what or whom we won’t like, but rarely what we will like.  We also have this habit of dichotimizing our feelings; they’re either “good” or “bad”- “right” or “wrong”.  Probably our greatest gift yet we so often contain or minimalize it, as if we are unworthy of reciprocation or above appearing vulnerable to those we care for.  I hate to think that the guise of normality and control is more vital to us than the joy of being true to ourselves, but such is often the case.  Though if we can’t be open about our natures with others, at least let us accept it within ourselves – be cognitive or our feelings and allow ourselves to bask in them. I guess I could say that this is a call to arms to all my similarly repressed kin.

Cease this continually numbing of the spirit, the absolute neglect of your voice. There are people out there who want to hear the things you have to say, and if you stay silent you will never obtain that connection. I’d like to think that the benefits far out weigh the risks in this instance.  But, think of all the awkward social interactions, faux pas, and disjointed eye contact, and possibility of rejection that you are lacking in your life!  Why, you could even grow as a person! No, no- that can’t be good for you; safety and absolute certainty is the way to go.

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Or this…

Up next for me: I’m working on a book review/critique of A Curable Romantic by Joseph Skibell and compiling a list of songs that have been quite relevant too me recently and interpreting some of the lyrics.  A Curable Romantic is a decent book, but extremely frustrating!  The protagonist is such an absolute goof!  He seems to be socially inept, obviously sexually ignorant, and naive to the point of rage at times. Ugh! As for the songs, I thought it may do well for me to add in some more popular culture and modern expression into my writing. I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes.  Also, I have decided to go back and revise and touch up my previous posts.  I’ve noticed a few redundencies, style errrors, and odd phrasing  within them after reading them out to my therapist. Generally, I like them(more than I thought I would), but I’d like them to flow much more smoothly. At the same time, my Rickman page is being pushed to the back of my mind (it’s just not tangible and, thus, less important to me at the moment) but he is still on my to-do list.   Heh…

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Not Alan Rickman, but just as acceptable.