Monthly Archives: April 2016

Burn After Bleeding

We all bleed. All of us. But only women bleed from our vaginas. Naturally. As we’re the only ones who have them. And whereas men bleed to death, women bleed for life.

Our [women’s] lives are punctuated by a roughly-every-monthly period, a week of hiding. The customary lengths we go to conceal any and all evidence of this completely natural cycle—risking ruining the plumbing just to flush our bloody tampons somewhere safely out of sight, wrapping our pads in toilet paper so the men who share that bathroom can maintain the very false illusion that blood is not currently gushing from our nether regions. Because, somebody else’s eyes might see our blood as shameful and disgusting.

But all Allison Felt  (known here as Allie-G) sees in her blood is ink to paint with. A new medium to create with. Art. And while I’m here hiding my vagina acting like it doesn’t bleed, Allison is painting and publicizing dozens of vaginas, with her own menstrual blood. Because fuck hiding who you are. We should be proud to be living, breathing, bleeding women with working bodies. Allie fearlessly shows a woman’s cycle for what it really is, which is something beautiful, something to be admired, something to be proud of. Period.

Behold, the vagina, universal and unique to every woman, painted below by Allie-G, in her own blood.

Image property of Allsion Felt - allisonfelt.com - Do not share without her permission and proper credit to the artist
Image property of Allsion Felt – allisonfelt.com – Do not share without her permission and proper credit to the artist

“I created this vagina compilation by collecting my menstrual blood in a diva cup and using it to paint a series of vaginas, each entirely unique. I photographed them and arranged them into one composition, on Photoshop. To each their own interpretation, but to me it’s about reclaiming the vagina as a symbol of pride and strength.

By using menstrual blood, the medium becomes part of the message, expressing that women’s blood should not be a source of shame or embarrassment, but rather a celebration of its life-giving power.

Vaginas are natural, beautiful, and complex beings, just like the women they belong to. They are not simply sexual objects or delicate flowers. Through this piece I aim to show vaginas in a raw bold light, displaying their unique beauty and individuality in a way that is quirky and simple, yet has an underlying important message. This design is about encouraging women to love their vagina just the way it is and acknowledge the power and control that it gives them. Vaginas are ours to own.”

Allison Felt

Open Letter to Uber

Dear Uber,

I want to start by thanking you for flooding my Facebook news feed with ads asking me if my car qualifies for Uber. It doesn’t. Nor does my cell phone, being as it is an ancient relic from a time when GPS and Uber apps didn’t exist. So no, I won’t be making thousands of dollars a month driving for you any time soon. But even if my car did qualify, and even if I did have GPS, I still wouldn’t apply.

You’re probably wondering why.

A friend of mine started driving for Uber. The first few rides were everything a nervous new driver could hope for—polite passengers, friendly conversation, respect from total strangers. But her third ride is precisely why women nationwide are not driving for you.

UberSam
SamBam, the friend who’s story I’m sharing here today – insta: @sam_alys

My friend, a fine-looking young woman, accepted ride number three. The man sat in the back of her car. She started driving. He started playing with her hair. She told him to stop, which he ignored. He told her he was drunk and on drugs. He whispered in her ear, “Show me your tits. Give me your pussy.” He kissed her neck. She told him to stop. He didn’t. When they arrived at his destination, he did not exit the car. She opened her door, hoping he would do the same. He did. When he got out, she slipped back in, locked all her doors and fuckin dipped.

He gave her a zero-star rating. She reported the incident in an email, since you have no phone number to call, and asked to have the man’s rating removed, which you refused. This lowered her rating from five stars to three, due to her denying a strange, intoxicated man her tits and pussy. But her job isn’t to give her tits and pussy. That’s not the service you provide. Unless maybe I’ve been misinterpreting your use of the word “rides.”

So no, I won’t be signing up to confine myself alone in a vehicle with a stranger any time soon. My safety is not for sale, and no monthly sum of money is enough to justify that constant risk. Although an article on fastcompany.com points out that, “App-based services allow drivers to carry a lot less money, diminishing the potential for theft,” (Greenfield), the potential for assault remains all too real. Women are targeted regardless of the cash they carry. Women’s bodies are a currency of their own, and pursued as such.

In my friend’s case, it could have been much worse. What if he had been armed? Weapons aren’t always used to kill. Weapons force victims to submit to someone’s will, against their own. Most people would choose “Give me your money” or “Give me your pussy” over “Give me your life.” And, voila, another sexual assault. It’s that easy, guys! All you need is a gun.

Uber, I’m not blaming you for the society you were born into. Women have been sexually targeted by (some, not all) men since the dawn of civilization. It’s not your fault women face a disproportionate risk, but it is your responsibility to accommodate for it. The service you provide puts women in a more unsafe position, and you owe it to those women to take any measure you can to prevent such an assault. Perhaps you could install audio recorders, video cameras, and/or some kind of Life-Alert device in vehicles to notify somebody when a driver is at risk, and track their location. If you want more women, offer them an equal opportunity as men, to safely earn an income without having to wonder if their next passenger will be their next attacker. Until then, do me a favor and don’t ask me to drive for you again.

—D$

Protect Yourself

IMG_2247I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of always wearing shoes.

And it pains me to say this, because I so love being barefoot. Wearing shoes just doesn’t feel… the same. I want to feel every speck of gravel, sand and broken glass beneath the raw skin of my feet. I want to experience the wetness of the earth, and splash my naked feet in every passing shore or puddle. I want to squish the mud between my toes. I want to feel the heat of the pavement penetrate directly into my feet, burning them with stimulation.

But the truth is, the same beautiful earth I yearn to feel licking and burning my bare feet is also the host of many hazards, to which my naked feet are highly vulnerable. I learned this the hard way. Everyone’s had the occasional careless encounter with a splinter or a shard of broken glass. Uncomfortable, but no big deal. No harm done, on the long run. Some occasional, minor irritation is inevitably fated for your feet, considering how frequently you use them.

But the real danger lies in the great outdoors, which is full or foreign substances and objects, unbeknownst to you and your delicate and unsuspecting feet, but which your feet are sure to find, if you forget to wear your shoes.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go outdoors, don’t get me wrong. Nature exists for you to explore, discover and experience, that’s why evolution gave you feet to, to walk with, but Mother Nature is a temple shared by many, and there’s no telling who’s tread the path you walk before you, or what they’ve left behind. So go, immerse yourself in nature, but be responsible. Wear shoes. Protect yourself.BeatenPath

And you can be as free and naked as you please, everywhere except your point of impact. So strip down, by all means, but keep your boots on. Being naked in nature is a basic human right. But whatever you do, don’t get naked and barefoot at the ruins of a demolished dump in Albany and blindly step on something invisibly embedded in some ivy that penetrates your foot with all the force of your entire body weight, which hurts a lot on impact, and continues hurting well over a week, immobilizing you and forcing you to finally apply for health insurance and seek legitimate medical care, or risk losing your foot forever.

And trust me, I’m the last person to encourage doing any of these things. I avoid both shoes and hospitals at almost any cost. I’ve spent the first 23 years of my life avidly neglecting these responsibilities. That’s how I figured out they’re so important. So take it from me, the girl who impaled her foot on a what I can only hope wasn’t a used needle or rusty nail that almost cost me my ability to venture out into nature ever again.

In the past, I’ve stubbornly always relied on the pull-out method, which can seem like a sound alternative to the barefoot-enthusiast still in denial of the very real risks attached. Which you’d think I would have learned the first time I treked barefoot through the same abandoned dump, through sand, debris and dirty water, predictably resulting in a gnarly gash at the base of my left heal. I remember thinking, “I should be more careful next time… maybe keep my shoes on.

Which I did not, predictably resulting in the stab wound to the same spot on the opposite foot. And whereas the pull-out slash soak-in-baking-soda slash minor-home-surgery-reopening-with-needle-to-remove-debris-still-trapped-in-wound method was effective on the minor surface scrape, the same method would have failed my potentially-tetanus-infested possibly-fatal-if-left-untreated-accidental-right-foot-piercing. Because although the object did, indeed, pull out, I shudder to think what it might have left behind, and who else’s feet it may have penetrated prior to penetrating mine.

So if you must go traipsing naked in the woods, or overgrown abandoned dump, or any other pointy-object riddled territory, aka anywhere outside your house, make sure you keep your shoes on. Immerse yourself in the ecstasy of the great outdoors, but know that space is shared by filthy, disease-infested strangers.

Scout, being responsible, keeping her boots on
Scout, being responsible, keeping her boots on

IMG_2240

Use protection. Wear your shoes.IMG_2258

 

 

And don’t forget your socks.