Thursday, October 29, 2009
We had an AWESOME time mindfully meditating, sharing personal struggles with body image, pledging and handing out 300 condoms near the West 4th Station!!! Issues explored in body struggles were: weight, height, skin color, unhealthy diets and self-harm. If you couldn't participate, make sure you pledge to do something to benefit your body this year. It could be as small as getting more exercise, drinking more water, or something even more valuable like abolishing self-destructive eating habits. A simple pledge everyone should make: look in the mirror everyday and tell yourself you're beautiful.
As for meditation, there are plenty of resources online, including NYU's own Student Health Center website on Mindfulness Resources located here. This website includes weekly relaxation classes, meditation mp3s and advice for mindfulness. Even if you don't have time to do an hour-long meditation every day, just taking ten minutes to focus on your breath and body daily literally changes the way your brain reacts to stress. Mindful meditation relieves stress levels over time so you're not constantly overflowing your cup of stress over fight-or-flight responses to obstacles. Remember - mindful meditation is NOT about emptying the mind - quite the contrary. It is about taking the focus back to the present moment by noticing bodily sensations and/or breath. The best thing about mindfulness is that it helps you ENJOY life as it happens, and not dwell on the past or worry about the future.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: THIS SATURDAY from 8 AM-12 PM is your last chance to participate in the PRO-CHOICE MOVEMENT at Dr. Emily's Health Clinic for Women in the South Bronx. More info on location and times can be found here. There are already signs and chants ready for you when you get there :) Julie and other NOW members will be attending, so e-mail them for any other details. Take the 6 train to 149th St and the clinic is right there!
Happy Love Your Body Day -- REMEMBER TO LOVE IT THE RIGHT WAY by being safe and mindful :)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Just a reminder that we will be having our LOVE YOUR BODY DAY celebration tomorrow. A change in plans has also occurred - we will not be doing self-defense lessons. Instead, we will start out the meeting with a ten minute meditation and discussion of how we pledge to love our bodies this year, followed with condom distribution to the public! Meditation helps unite body and mind, lowers stress and helps us become mindful in daily activities. Even if you are a beginner, we will use a meditation guide that can be used by anyone - beginners and experts alike. As you know, engaging in safe sex practices is also another one of the main components of loving our bodies, so we will be spreading the love right after our pledges. :)
Healthy snacks will be served. As usual, Wednesday, 7 PM, Kimmel 909...don't be late and feel free to bring a guest.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We had our Icarus Presentation by the awesome Sabrina Chapadijev, who discussed the struggles of authors and artists from her book, Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction and how these struggles embodied the link between self-destruction and creativity. From provacative performance artists like Annie Sprinkle to insightful playwrghts like Carolyn Gage, Sabrina explored how self-destruction should not be labelled black-and-white "bad" - instead, it should be seen as a mechanism of coping. However, she also reiterates that the same amount of energy used in self-destruction can be converted to creative energy.
Important themes/discussion points:
- Isolation - There is solitude in self-destruction, like cutting. But there is also a positive isolation like writing in your room, what Sabrina calls "rage through the page." Putting your pen to the page can be cathartic and less harmful than choosing to hurt yourself.
- Political Consciousness - Tired of how the media is selling papers by the tragedies happening to women all over the world? So is HotHead Paisan. Express your rage at all the injustice against women, and you may just become a homicidal lesbian terrorist, too.
- Shame - We are often taught to feel ashamed about our bodies or who we are. Those who don't fit the superskinny model stereotype, those who are born as men who want to be women, those who defy gender stereotypes are discriminated and criticized on a daily basis, constantly preventing them from pursuing what they want to do. Shame creates self-destruction, and self-destruction creates shame.
- Myth of the Suicidal Female Poet - What do you do when all your feminist heroes all kill themselves? Sabrina discussed how there is a "gang mentality" in self-destruction, in which different self-destructive groups (the alchoholics, the smokers, the cutters) form cliques that cultivate the character of the tragic artist -- as Sabrina put it, "We want to show people that, 'Yeah, I hurt that much.'"
- Power and Control - Yet with that self-destruction comes a sense of power. As Sabrina said, men and women in general react differently to stress: "Guys say 'fuck you,' women say, 'fuck me!'" Males express themselves aggressively, straightforwardly, while females are forced to keep it all within. The pain that women feel thus comes out in self-destructive behaviors such as cutting, which provides a map that provides a physical manifestation of how much they hurt, and also establishes a control they feel they cannot achieve otherwise in life. They feel control over their bodies, they are now the only ones who can hurt themselves.
- Choice - We have a choice. To feel power through self-destruction or through creativity. To kill ourselves or to invent ourselves. To medicate genius or to abolish it completely. The choice, of course, is much more nuanced and complicated than these dichotomies suggest. Do we keep our madness? Do we use it? Each person must make that choice on their own, while being aware that they can replace their self-destruction with their own creation.
- Formation - What is formation? Using our emotional pain as nourishment for our creativity. Formation is the stage in which previous invalidation and pain becomes a pathway to salvation, reflection and modes of expression. As Sabrina puts it, "It's harnessing your rage, realizing it's yours, and finding a way to annunciate it is what saves you." So save yourself. Start today. Instead of cutting, write. Instead of drinking, draw. Instead of dying, live through this.
For more on Sabrina and her book, as well as the authors/artists involved, please visit the websites below:
http://www.sabrinachap.com/LTT - Official website for Sabrina's book.
http://www.myspace.com/livethroughthis2008 - Sabrina's personal blog.
You can also e-mail Sabrina with questions or comments at email@example.com.
THERE WILL BE A RAGE-TO-PAGE WORKSHOP FRIDAY MAY 2ND! This is an actual workshop which will be interactive. "Nobody wants to talk about it in a real way- why women actually cut, starve or drug themselves, what it feels like, and why it is so socially acceptable to self-destruct. Based on the essays of her newest collection, "Live Through This: The Art of Self-Destruction", Editor/Playwright Sabrina Chapadjiev will be leading a workshop on the themes that surround self-destruction: shame, power, and control, as well as ways to channel self-destructive behaviors into creative ones." More information here.
*Breast Cancer Walk was cancelled.
See you next week and thanks to those who attended this special event!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
A reminder that today is our Icarus Workshop, a special event with Sabrina Chapadjiev, author of Live Through This: On Creativity and Self Destruction 7 PM Kimmel 909! Sabrina will be leading a discussion and workshop on how we can channel negative emotional energy into positive creative outlets. A great mental health experience for everyone who wishes to come. SNACKS WILL BE SERVED. Bring a guest!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Today we had our awesome second installment of Feminist Music Day and went over upcoming events!
What we have coming up:
Icarus Workshop next Wednesday, 7 pm, Kimmel 909 - There's a summary of this event and more events on this post. However, just to recap for those who don't know, this workshop will be with Sabrina Chapdjiev, author of Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction, which will explore creative alternatives to emotional and physical self-abuse. As women, we should prioritize our mental health, not always easy to maintain in a society that pressures or degrades us. The workshop will begin with a presentation by Sabrina and follow with a more interactive discussion on how to channel our negative emotional energy into positive, creative outlets. This is for ALL women, despite your history or lack thereof of self-initiated abuse. We have all gone through struggles that have triggered emotionally harmful thoughts. Why not learn how to enhance your mental health and transform your experience? We encourage you to BRING A GUEST to this very special event. Snacks will be served!
Breast Cancer Walk next Sunday at 9 AM -- We have already raised over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS in donations for Breast Cancer!!! Come join us in a memorable walk to celebrate women with breast cancer, or people with cancer in general. We will be meeting in front of Kimmel at 9 AM, then we will take the 6 train to 77th St. If you prefer to meet us at the Walk site from your location, please contact Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how you can do so. You can DONATE by clicking here and you can join our NOW-NYU team for the Walk here.
GEMS training last Saturday was CANCELLED. We are still awaiting a response from GEMS with regards to whether we can do monthly volunteering without a training session. As the next training session will be held in December, we are trying to figure out whether we can do anything for GEMS without attending training. More information will be coming from Julie through the list-serv. If you have not joined the list-serv NOW-NYU, please do so as soon as possible! The list-serv is an IMMEDIATE way to get your info on all things NOW =) Pun intended.
Some fabulous NOW members attended The Pro-Life Counter-Protest last Saturday and you can too, this coming Saturday! Just take the 6 train to 149th St. to protest for your right to choice. For more info, contact Julie at email@example.com.
The National Equality March is this week in Washington D.C.! Join the struggle for freedom, including LGBT equality this October 10th-11th. Paradigm Shift is an organization that will be providing buses to this monumental event for only $30 - NOW members who are interested can discuss about sharing this experience together by seizing this opportunity. For some other great deals on bus rides there, contact Sarah or Julie.
Some supplementary events you feminists might want to attend:
The CUNY Grad Center's Feminist Pedagogy Conference on November 6th from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM will explore feminist approaches to learning and classroom strategies. This will create a dialogue between feminist scholars, students and activists. For more info about this conference and location, go to the website: http://web.gc.cuny.edu/womenstudies/wgp/index.html
New York Rally to Protest Roman Polanski's Petition, October 10th, 6pm - Are you outraged at what's happened with Roman Polanski's case? Do you think the petition for his release is a mockery of women's rights and an endorsement of rape? NOW is also encouraging all women and men to join nationwide rallies outside of movie theaters THIS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10th. The New York Rally will be taking place outside The Film Society of Lincoln Center 70 Lincoln Center Plaza New York, NY and will be happening during the NY Film Fest. It will start at 6pm (not 7pm) in front of the box office of Alice Tully Hall 65th & Amsterdam, New York, NY. If you won't be in the city this weekend, find a participating rally near you on the NOW website: http://www.now.org/lists/now-action-list/msg00403.html. You can also organize your own rally if your city is not listed! More info on the website.
Teaching Sex, Deconstructing Bodies, next Monday from 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm. located at 41-51 East 11th St, room 709 - A presentation on alternative sex education, focusing on feminist sex shops that produce sex-related items in US and Sweden. Also a discussion of how feminist, queer and anti-racist perspectives alter/challenge the way we view traditional categorization of the sexes. For more info, click here.
NYU Amnesty International Candlelight Vigil, 7 pm-9 PM at Washington Square Park - Honor the rape victims of Africa who are used as a tool in warfare by literally illuminating their plight. RSVP/more info on the Facebook page.
Love Your Body Day, October 28th at regular meeting day and time - Celebrate the beauty of your body by doing something physically or mentally healthy! We are still looking for new ideas for this day, but are currently leaning towards Self-Defense lessons.
And last but not least, the Feminist Songs we listened to:
Well, Well, Well by Le Tigre - what's more feminist than a woman taking her sexual power back? The days when women were the passive sexual receivers of a man's pleasure are OVER, ladies. With this rocking song you'll be wanting to show and tell, too...whatever that means.
Double Dare Ya by Bikini Kill - a kickass feminist song which encourages you to be whatever type of woman you want to be.
The Day Bella Abzug Died by Sarah Dougher - a historically conscious feminist song that celebrates the legacy of Bella Abzug, the first Jewish congresswoman in the United States congress, and one of the first to defend gay rights.
Stupid Girls by Pink - a controversial song which can be considered feminist or anti-feminist, depending on your point of view. Feminist in its social critique of the demeaning way the media portrays women, and anti-feminist in its personal vendetta to stereotype certain women/exclude feminine women from the idea of "Feminism." We definitely have to consider that feminism should not degrade or pigeonhole women, or perpetuate stereotypes. So is this really feminist? Up to you to decide. Whether this song makes you empowered or angry, it's definitely one that has to be heard in order to challenge your idea of what feminism really is.
Again, thanks ladies for another great meeting. Next week, we will be having the Icarus Workshop (if you just skimmed through this post, go back right to the top), at the same meeting time and place. BRING A GUEST!
See you next week,