Friday, June 28, 2013

Making My Own Standards

I am an outspoken woman. I am a political activist in addition to everything else I do. I seek to end bullying, homophobia, and domestic violence. I seek to also end violence against women. I seek to end hate of any kind. I seek to change the world. I seek to end all wrongs. Every sentence starts with "I" which means yes, there is much ego to all my causes. I seek also to get rights for those suffering from HIV and those who are marginalized such as drug addicts. Yes, I believe addiction is a disease naysayers. Science proves my point.

So what I am saying dudes is, sorry, won't be making you a sandwich anytime soon. Won't be joining you and your boys for a poker night. Won't be the decoration on your arm that doesn't talk that you will get to fuck later. Sorry fellas, I have better things to do than be your maid that doubles as your whore.

It amazes me how despite the advances women have made sexism is alive and well. Whether it is the men who seek to redefine rape because of a selfish pro-life agenda, or whether it is the women who back them just to belong to the so called boys club. Or sometimes it is guys saying women take things too personally, such as a remark about sexual assault or music where violence against women is glorified. The members of this boys club say when women get offended, they lose their power. However, when we sit back and let this speech occur, we find ourselves as victims and wonder why and how this happened in the first place. We get upset when Chris Brown hits Rihanna, yet when rappers speak about "smacking a ho" they make millions of dollars a minute.

I was told when I started comedy that being a woman was a strike against me. I never believed it until I saw some television time. The first to say it wasn't fair that I was getting ahead were the so called guys who had been what I now loosely term as friends. According to them, I was sleeping around to advance my career. They said it was wrong I was getting the television time I was. There were women who also took joy in ripping me down. It hurt, but it was pathetic on their part because they wanted to establish themselves as members of the club that badly. Either way, I never realized what a detriment it was to be born a woman until I walked into a club and was bumped my several (male) headliners just because they could. I have never gotten over the sting. While I have not left comedy per se, we have been strange bedfellows for a while. Sure, they can't ban me but in many ways I have been exiled for doing my business the way I do. However, ironically, if I were a man I would be a genius and a folk hero.

The same double standard exists within the ventriloquist community. I remember being badmouthed on several message boards by white, Christian, older, men who claimed I was abusing their art form to further my career. They believed trash printed by those who hated me on a tabloid. Of course one woman came on as sort of an apologist in my court but she was quickly ripped down by the majority. Several of these so called Christians have been vocal about me not being welcome at the ventriloquist events. Granted, I don't think my puppets would be welcome. One is gay. Another is a former drug addict turned Christian who tried to kill her boyfriend and won't repent. Another is a slut. Of course there is the Christian puppet in my collection that was successful in killing her husband. Another is a drunk. The list goes on. Maybe they aren't Godly puppets, but however, they prove a bigger point. The point is that addicts deserve compassion like anyone else, and sluts and gays are a member of our world. Actually slut is a terrible word that seeks to marginalize women. I prefer the word sexually free.

Same in the writing world. Because I do not speak the same victimese many women memoir writers do, I am not welcome on many a women's panel. I do not let the terrible things that have happened in my life define me, that would give the male world the freedom to knock me down. I also find that because I do not wallow in the low self-worth many women writers do, I find I have no support behind them. Fine, I don't write about feelings or the stupidity of emotion. At the same time, I have had many male writers put me in my so called place for the way I published by book. Apparently this makes me less of a writer. Last time I checked Mensa never endorsed their books. Last time I checked they weren't in the collection of any Ivy League Schools. So I suppose this makes me the odd one out at dinner, the guest no one invited on the list that accidentally showed up because she saw the flier for the party.

When I directed my music video for "Stay" I based the character I played not only off the libel written about me, but also off of Calypso the Cave Witch. She was the demi-goddess who had imprisoned Odysseus in her cave to be her lover forever, until Zeus demanded he be released. I loved Calypso because not enough was written about her, but also because she seduced and spit out men at her leisure. Helen of Troy, the great beauty of the time, was one who had men fighting over her. Calypso never saw the need. It was just business. Time to move on. Would she be considered a slut? Hell if I no. Either way, the character is based off of her. Everyone who has seen the video loves it, male and female.

As a woman why should I not give myself the place of power and purposefulness in my work regardless of the medium? When I write songs, why should they have to be begging some man to stay? When I do comedy, why should I whine about wanting a man or how they treat me? When I write, why should I whine about wanting a husband? Why should I whine? Why should I put myself in the place of subservient victim? Why should I not come out from a place of strength and power?

This may turn some off to my work because they do not like me as a person or my so called agenda. That is fine. I might offend some. That is fine. I might not fit into the little mold called woman. That is fine. I might not have my career handed to me like those who follow the rules. Even better, I shatter your boxes and refuse to follow your rules.

I have gotten as far as I have without the help of any man or woman. Perhaps it is some greater power that wants me to succeed. Or maybe not. Either way, if you like me support me. If not, good luck to you and go fuck yourself. I am making my own standards and am changing the world.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Paperback available on Amazon and 877-Buy-Book
E-Book available on Kindle and Nook, also through Brown and NYU Books
Audiobook available on itunes and Audible this Summer
Portion of proceeds go to Ali Fornay Center

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