Thursday, March 7, 2013

This might as well be a Taylor Swift song....

{Editor's note: Because it's so sweet. Not because the dude does her wrong in the end. Anyway, the following is by the fabulous, hilarious, oh, and we can't forget brilliant Danielle Lipp....}

"Did you kiss yet?"

“No, not yet”

“When does this start to get creepy?"
I was just shy of 21, talking to an old friend when this phone conversation took place. The whole "waiting thing" was cute when I was in high school but as I got older I started to feel like I had a third arm growing out of the side of my head when I told people. In fact, I am certain there were some who thought I was a lesbian. It wasn't just my kisses that waited, sex would wait as well until I was married. 
No really, I waited and it was great. I didn't acquire a ton of emotional problems (at least not ones I didn't already have), no STD's, and I never had to debate getting an abortion.
Aloha, my name is Danielle, and I’m a newlywed from Hawaii (I never know how to say that without sounding like I'm a spoiled brat, oh well). I’m a pastor's daughter, the youngest of four girls. And as you could probably already tell I'm not your typical pastor's daughter, well at least I don’t strip on the weekends.
{Editor's note: Wait Danielle, you strip M-F? You really should've told us that *before* we let you write a blog.}
I was 21 when I had my first kiss, it was to my boyfriend Josef (who is now my Husband). To relieve you from your complete shock, let's go back a bit.
I know, it's hard to believe she's a virgin in this pic because of the sheer hotness here,
but trust.
In 2000, I started praying for my husband. My prayer was that I wouldn’t have to date my entire youth group to get to him and that he would be my first and only kiss. Fast forward to late September 2008, I walked into church late, and little did I know what God was doing in that service. They say love is blind and if that's the case I would've walked right into a brick wall. And then that wall chased after me hard. Even though I swore he would make someone else very happy it only took four months until we became "official," and I had my first boyfriend.

Our first Valentine's Day I gave him my first kiss. I was 21 and self taught by way of Titanic and The Notebook. God has the best sense of humor being that my first kiss would be with a guy who had the last name Lipp. I had planned on waiting until may wedding day, but it was either a confidence in my to be husband, or the fact that I was an aspiring actress with no money for acting classes that I decided to plant one on him. It was refreshing to be a "rookie." To know that if I drooled too much, or jammed my tongue down his throat it was because of a lack of experience. And that's a good thing.

I will forever cherish the day, on September 24th 2011 when I thought I was reading for an audition but I was in fact offered my most important role yet, the proposal to be his wife.

I can't wait to tell our children one day that their Daddy is the only man their Mom ever kissed and that she planned, or shall I say "prayed" it that way. He always asked me what made him stand out and why I chose him to be my first everything. The only answer I could give him is that he was the only man that LOVED Jesus more than me. I loved that the first time he picked me up there was worship music playing in his car. Or when we were watching Never Been Kissed (an aptly named gift he brought) and the banana scene came on, he fast forwarded it. I loved that I didn't have to invite him to church... he invited himself. I love that he was the first one to text, call and add me on myspace (strange how saying that makes me feel old).

He showed me what it felt like to be pursued, what it looked like to be a man, and defied my belief that I would never fall for a jock. There have already been bad and ugly times in our marriage but I know it will all be worth it when we are sitting together at our children's wedding one day like both of our parents did at ours.

I don’t know if you guys who are reading this are anything like some (not all but some) of my friends and are eagerly asking “Ok great good for you for waiting, but how was the sex?”
{Editor's note: Yes. Yes, we are.}
The first time I cried. Not because it hurt, even though it did. It was emotional on a level I never expected because of this new intimacy combined with my dream coming to fruition. As amazing as it was I see it different now, Yes it is amazing, but no it won't pay our bills, stop a fight, or make my husband love me more. I realize now I worshipped sex before I had ever even had it. It was synonymous with marriage to me. It was going to fix our problems and make us happy, and while it can at times take care of the happy part, sex is such a small part of our relationship. What it is for us is the cherry on top. It is a blessing, it's a gift, it's a means to which we can create the 7 kids my husband thinks we will have (Lord, I pray you choose a nice easy number like 4).
{Editor's Note: Oh, FOUR is easy, Danielle? Really? So I'm just sitting here editing your post with a baby literally sitting on the side of my head like a spider monkey because four is such a day at the spa? You think I'm playin' girl? Shoooooo, I ain't playin.... proof, in 5...4....3...2...1...
Danielle Lipp's definition of a cake walk
....but whatever, I'll let's get back to your story, and I'll also be praying that you do get those four..... *cough*sets of triplets*cough*}
Even though I had my own lessons to learn, God mapped things out accordingly. It wasn't easy to wait, it was hard... really hard. There were plenty of awkward moments, disappointed guys and dry lips. But what was the point if I wasn't going to marry them? I know the fact that I waited doesn't make me any better than anyone who didn't. I can just attest that it was easier for me in the end.
The too cute couple, Danielle & Josef. Josef's the one on the left, by the way.
It's the way God designed it, it's the way that works. It's definitely not what you will see on TV and goes against many of today's norms but it in a way keeps your heart in tact. You don't leave a piece of it here, a piece with him there. It's yours to share with one person. I know the whole "not kissing thing" is a bit much for many of you but I can only say this. I wouldn't change a thing if I could go back. In fact, if I had the chance I would have waited for my wedding day. 
Danielle Lipp is the project manager for I am Whole Life
{Final Editor's Note: Danielle shared this little tidbit with me in confidence, so I'm sure she wouldn't mind me blabbing it with the whole internet, but she was obsessed with kissing growing up. As is my 6-year-old daughter who talks about it non-stop because Disney has temporarily lobotomized her. Some girls are just extra romanticy like that, I suppose. Anyway, I tell you this, Internet, to help put into perspective why kissing was off limits for her.... and hopefully will be with my daughter until she's married too (hey, a mom can hope, right?), because for some people first base is more intimate than all the bases. and a home run. and a Denny's Grand Slam. I mean, I can get seriously intimate with a Grand Slam, y'all. Don't judge.}
{FINAL, Final (seriously, this time) Editor's Note: Since I know there are those people/commenters/trolls out there who will jump on to say this is totally "slut shamy," as is evidently everything we do over here at NWF according to them ("Did you see the way those New Wave Feminists were all like brushing AND flossing their teeth?" "Girl, yeah, seriously, they just can't stop slut shaming us"), let me just stop ya right there. As DLipp points out, it ain't easy being easy. Not because of all the {{{SHAME}}} we're sending adolescent girls through the internet, but because a lot of women, myself included, regret their slutliciousness at some point. But it's also not easy being chaste either, and this post is to encourage those who take the road less traveled...which I imagine can feel pretty lonely when all the rest of your generation is out dancing on bars.} 

Remember the time that porn group tried to call themselves Feminists?

Soda = Bad, Abortion = Good

NYC's new ad campaign for FORCED ABORTION... oh wait, that's *not* what this is? 
Could've fooled me. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

“The Vaginas Are Coming”: Students for Life vs. giant crotch photos

Hey, Vagina People! First: putting the words “Kick Off” on top of a uterus doesn’t really say, “Join us, ladies.” Second: your parents are paying good money for you to go to college. You don’t know how to spell “demonstration,” but you do know how to justify porn with big words… Come to think of it, I think you’ll do just fine in the real world. 

You can already tell by the title of this blog post that things are about to get ridiculous.

Let me just start off with the basics: Students for Life of America sponsored a display of graphic images by the Genocide Awareness Project on the University of Cincinatti campus. Supposedly in response to this, the UC Feminists and the UC (*deep breath*) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Alliance (*exhale*) will be hosting a panel led by (guess who?) Planned Parenthood, and will host an “art display” featuring 12 billboard-sized images of vaginas.

You can reread that if you need to.

While you do, I’ll be thinking about how inviting Planned Parenthood to lead your sex panel is like allowing KFC to lead your obesity panel. When did we get the idea that they’re here to educate us? As Kristan Mercer Hawkins of SFLA said, “Planned Parenthood isn’t an educational group; it’s an industry. It sells contraception, abortions, and STD treatment…”

When I heard about all this, the first thing I imagined – because my brain is weird – was the phone calls to the vagina models:

“Hey, Kat? It’s Lauren. What are you doing later?”

“I have cardio yoga-lates, why?”

“Are you free after? Students for Life just showed these giant aborted fetus posters –”

“Ugh!”

“And we want to counter-protest by showing pictures of vaginas. So, Kat, can we take pictures of your vagina and show a billboard-sized print of it on campus?”

“Well, Lauren, I’m a queer feminist. I have serious problems with the objectification of women, the compartmentalization of women’s bodies and minds, and the devolution of women into mere reproductive organs. So yes!”

Let me just state this right out of the gate: I am one of those probably rare pro-lifers who does not agree with the wholesale public display of graphic images. I am not going into why because that’s not what this post is about. This about the enormous difference between what UC Students for Life and Genocide Awareness Project showed, and what the UC Feminists and LGBTQA are doing.
(Please note: I’m going to get really wordy and bored typing all that over and over, so from now on they’re the Pro-Lifers and the Vagina People. Okay? Okay.)
The Vagina People said this:
Their billboard sized photographs equated mutilated fetuses with genocide victims in an effort to shame women, comparing reproductive choice to holocaust.
What their photographs showed was the product of the most common medical procedure in America. They did it because they’re concerned that people don’t know what the “reproductive choice” they’re supporting looks like. They’re providing information. Whether they’re doing it in the right way is immaterial to this debate.
According to the Vagina People, their big vagina photos will be much more appropriate and important:
Our demonstration serves to call attention to the vagina as a site of conflict in medical, legislative, domestic, and representational arenas. Its purpose is to incite conversation about the objectification, exploitation, and discrimination of women’s bodies in advertising, health care, reproductive rights, and queer identities.
Okay.

First of all. We know what vaginas look like. This is not information. This is not educational. It is an adolescent action intended to shock the Christians, delight the frat boys, and make everybody gasp about how brave and revolutionary the Vagina People are.

It doesn’t matter how many Gender Studies and Queer Theory thesis paragraphs you throw into the mix. You’re still just showing big crotch pictures.

This is one of those situations that makes me feel like I need to be beamed up. Breakin’ it down:

Graphic images of aborted fetuses to educate people about the reality of abortion: shames women.

Graphic images of vaginas to somehow show that objectification and exploitation are bad: empowers women.

Do you know what I think? I think the Vagina People are immature children who don’t do a lot of critical thinking. You know why I think that? Because I was a Vagina Person. I didn’t actually show vagina pictures anywhere, but I would have thought it was pretty awesome when I was about 23. And I would have made up the same warmed-over crap to justify it.

But the real reason why I would have thought it was awesome is that it’s incendiary and pornographic. And this is pornography. If it weren’t, they wouldn’t be so excited about it.

You can argue that the graphic abortion images are also shocking, and that they qualify as pornographic. But there is an important difference of intent. The vagina pictures are there to titillate, to arouse and inflame. They Vagina People deny that, but that’s because they’re lying. They’re exhibitionists. They want attention and praise.  And they will get it. Mark my words.

The Pro-Lifers got some negative attention and virtually no praise. They didn’t make anyone horny, but they made the vast majority of viewers upset and sad and angry. Which was their goal. So tell me again this is the same thing.

Of course Planned Parenthood is involved. They want to rid young women of their natural modesty. They want every 19-year-old girl in America to see her vagina as a plaything and/or an object suitable for public display. They want her purse stuffed with raspberry flavored condoms that don’t work very well.

Moreover, they want every male on campus looking at vagina pictures all day, so a few weeks later, at their clinic less than a mile away, they’ll have some new customers.

Do the Pro-Lifers have a right to show their graphic images on campus? Yes. Do the Vagina People have a right to show their vagina pictures? Apparently, yes. Honestly, if I happened to be on campus with my young son or daughter, I would not want them looking at either one.

But whatever your feelings on graphic images, please remember: these Pro-Lifers are acting in earnest. They’re showing their photos in the hope that someone might see them, learn the truth, and avoid the pain and death of abortion.

The Vagina People are showing their photos because they can. Because it’s fun. They’re not trying to save lives. They’re trying to have a laugh, and all the blowhard collegiate posturing is just that: posturing.

I know this because I was just like them. One day when this is years behind them they’ll finally start admitting it to themselves and each other. They’ll sit around and laugh about that time they snowed the administration into letting them show giant pictures of vulvas on campus.
That’s the difference here. Don’t be fooled.


*********************************************************





Post by Kristen Hatten

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Moving Violation...

Kat and I... on a better day.
So last night a group of friends and I met up for dinner and drinks. My sweet, childhood friend Kat was supposed to be joining us. We were laughing and telling stories when suddenly she walks in with tears in her eyes, and unfortunately tells me an all too familiar story.... 
"I sat in the traffic just staring ahead of me and messing with my stereo a bit, but then I got that feeling that most folks get when they sense the person next to them is staring at them. Naturally, I glance over to see if my suspicions are correct, sure enough I see the man with his head completely turned in my direction, just gawking at me. I didn't stare back long, just enough time to make quick eye contact and think to myself, 'man, he looks ticked off...yeah, this traffic sucks, join the club buddy.' I went back to just staring ahead of me, when I couldn't help but feel a "hole being burned through me"--this man was STILL looking at me, intensely...thinking to myself, 'what gives?!' I glance back over and this time notice something I didn't catch the first time around--he was masturbating. Masturbating and staring at me! I was shocked. I thought 'no, surely not, my eyes are playing tricks on me.' No, they weren't, he was indeed violently masturbating while looking at me. Eye contact was brief. I of course looked away! We had locked eyes long enough for me to say this much though: he was not blinking and he seemed void of emotion. He had no smirk on his face, NOTHING...just emptiness and intensity...*shudder*, I feel violated all over again just thinking of the energy he managed to give off in that brief moment, an unsettling energy. I've never seen a man, even during a pleasurable moment, with that sort of look in his eye. It is was frightening. I wanted to escape, wanted to speed off, but there was no where to go. Totally boxed in. I picked up my phone, thinking that maybe if he thought I was calling someone, he'd stop. No. I stared straight ahead, never looking over at him once I knew what he was doing. I felt dirty." 
"A break came in traffic and thank God I was able to move up a bit, and flee from this wacko...unfortunately, his lane cleared up too just a few short seconds after mine had and there he was again, right beside me once more. I had glanced over briefly as I was naturally concerned when I saw the lane beside me move that he would be back next to me again. He was. I saw him leaning slightly in his seat "rubber necking" forward as he was eager to see me again, obviously bothered by the fact I had 'gotten away' for a moment, it was the only hint of some type of emotion I ever saw in him. His face still turned towards me, his hand still quickly stroking himself...I tried to move my car up as much as I possibly could, practically right on top of the car in front of me, it didn't help, he inched forward too and could still see me, he continued to pleasure himself."
"Once again I turned away, not wanting to allow him to see my face, not wanting to be part of whatever sick fantasy he must have been playing out in his mind. Then a break in traffic came again and this time all the cars were able to make a much more significant move...I accelerated forward and made my turn away from the highway and away from him. All of this took place in the matter of a few minutes...which seemed like forever. After getting away, I immediately felt a mixture of relief, disgust and fear. I was shaken up and started to cry, realizing what had just happened. I called my husband, who was shocked to say the least...he explained how sorry he was by what had happened to me and asked if I was alright, etc. we spoke briefly as I was approaching my destination. I thought about just going home...I felt confused and violated and just plain weird...no other way to describe it. We said I love you and hung up as I found a place to park and did so. I was on a roller coaster of emotions, finding myself upset with the situation...going from sad and scared to angry. How could he do that? How could he make me apart of his sick kicks, of something I had in no shape or form consented to?! I also felt angry at the fact I rarely leave my home alone, I rarely get a 'mom's night out'...and I felt like he had stolen my evening, if that makes sense. It had been too dark to make out the car clearly, nor did I even really think about it in the moment...all I thought about was getting the HELL away!! He had never gotten ahead of me to see his plates, our vehicles were always side by side until traffic cleared, allowing me to immediately escape his view. I had nothing on this guy to report him with, or I would have, as what he did is illegal. My husband who has worked on sex offender cases through the GAO says what the man did could have actually landed him on the sexual offenders registry list. My husband's reviewed similar cases of men who are on the registry for public masturbation." 
"Though I had considered going home after the incident, I decided after having sat in all that traffic, and driven this far to see my girlfriends, I would keep my original plans. Plus, while discussing matters with my husband, I decided I wasn't going to let that creep 'win' by ruining the rest of my evening. As I walked up to the establishment I realized how on guard I was. I had my cell phone in hand with 911 typed in and my finger over the call button ready to dial out if need be, I also had my car key in between my fingers (some of you may be familiar with what I'm describing, it's a safety maneuver some 'stranger danger' workshops teach to use as a weapon to gouge out an attacker's eye.) I parked close to the restaurant, and we were in a pretty safe location, so some would have seen my actions as a bit paranoid...but that's because A: I'm a precautions woman by nature, and B: The man had made me feel unsafe and yes, paranoid..."  
After she told us what had happened, I think most of the women at the table were in shock. I knew the best way I could comfort her in that moment was by telling her about the time it had happened to me... letting my friend know that sadly she wasn't alone.

Last summer we had traveled out of town for a family reunion, and after a full day of events we returned to the hotel around 10pm. My husband was exhausted, so he crashed, but the kids were still hyped up on ice cream and excitement. We wanted to do something special and out of the ordinary since we were on vacation, so my brother-in-law and I decided to take them down to the hotel pool. It was almost a quarter to eleven, but we figured this would be a fun treat for them. 


At this point, I'm inclined to tell you what I was wearing, in an attempt to somehow explain how I hadn't "made myself" an object of temptation for some skeezeball, but then I remember, no. There is NO justification for treating another human being like that. ever. Nothing I did that night was MY fault. 


Once we got down there we all swam for bit, the pool was relatively empty given the hour. I had brought my laptop with me, so I got out, dried off, and sat in a chair by the indoor pool. My brother-in-law continued splashing around with the kids, when I noticed a late-20's/early 30's preppy looking man walk in. At the other side of the pool, carved into the wall was a small sauna room... with a glass door. The man entered, and took a seat out of sight. I glanced over at my children who were playing Marco Polo with their uncle, then I returned to my laptop. A few minutes passed, then I felt it. In the same way Kat described above, I felt someones eyes on me. I immediately looked up, and without even meaning to, made eye contact with this man. He had moved from where he was originally sitting, and was now directly in my eye line. Nothing between us but the glass, the pool, and my children. 


Had he been looking at them, I would probably be writing this post from a jail cell. 


I immediately broke eye contact, and looked over at my brother-in-law. My heart was racing. I was so....angry, and scared, and confused. Had I just seen what I thought I'd seen? I quickly glanced back over to see the man grab his towel and bolt for the door. I assume he thought I was about to alert whoever I was with about what he was doing. I immediately stood up and rushed off in the other direction, grabbing my brother-in-law and kids in the process, but not so that I could confront this guy....or even tell the front desk. I just wanted to get away. I wanted to put that ugliness as far from me and my family as possible.


As I told my brother-in-law what had happened I was overcome by shame. Not from being used against my will in that way, that was just horrifyingly uncomfortable and gross, no, the shame came from the way I reacted.


I am a strong person; someone who's not usually afraid of confrontation, someone who likes to see justice prevail, yet here I was, running. 


I felt guilty. Was this my fault? Was is because of how I was dressed, or the fact that we were down there so late? I knew the guilt was misplaced, but it was still hard to push it out of my head. 


When we got back to the hotel room, and recounted the story for my husband, he immediately started asking us why we hadn't called the cops or had the front desk pull the surveillance cameras and hunt this guy down. I didn't know how to explain it, because it was just too uncomfortable....so awkward, and embarrassing, and dirty, I didn't want to allow it to steal one more second of my life.


If you've never had something like this happen, you probably won't understand that. And even if you had, like me, you might find yourself blurting out questions to your petrified friend at a crowded restaurant like, "Why didn't you call the cops or hit his car?!?" It took me a moment to remember that feeling, since it was one I so desperately wanted to forget.


However, this is something we need to talk about. Pervs like this are nothing new, but I have to wonder if they're becoming more prevalent because of the society we currently live in; a world that tells men it's ok to treat a woman like a 2-dimensional image, put solely on this earth for their self-gratification.


Have you ever experienced anything like this? I don't know why it took Kat sharing her story for me to finally tell mine.... for me to finally see what a feminist issue this actually is; what a violation it is to one's dignity. 


I'll leave you with these final words from Kat, if you have had something similar happen, I hope they'll give you the courage to tell someone...



"I went to bed last night not sure if I would tell my story. I'm not too prideful to admit I was afraid of being judged...of other women thinking I had not been 'strong enough' to just let it roll off my back or not 'done something more' to stop this man from masturbating while staring at me. Then I realized, like I always preach: Be yourself. Do what you think is right and don't let what others think of you control you. No one knows you better than yourself. No one really knows what they'd do in your situation, because they aren't you, they may have a different personality from yours that reacts differently to such things, or they may have never actually been in that situation to truly know how they would handle it. I've always been forthcoming when I go through something personal. In the past, I have shared things others would not share on a social networking site, if anywhere for that matter. I do that because for me personally, I find it healing to get it off my chest and also because I find it helps others speak out and heal then too. I've never let fear of what others might say or do stop me before, so why start now? I did nothing wrong, period. That man wanted to use me, he made me a part of something sexual I did not consent to and in that way, he violated me. I can't undo what he did, but I can decided how I react, and I choose to tell my story."