Damaged Goods: how virginity is equated to morality

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By Alexandria Arritt

Samantha Pugsley is one of many women who waited until marriage to have sex and regretted it. When Samantha was 10 she took a pledge at her church to remain a virgin until marriage. She recited this vow along with a group of other girls, “Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship. As well as abstaining from sexual thoughts, sexual touching, pornography, and actions that are known to lead to sexual arousal.” Samantha recounts her wedding night and writes that what her parents and church leaders didn’t tell her is that she would be crying on her honeymoon because she felt dirty and sinful.

Continue reading “Damaged Goods: how virginity is equated to morality”

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Remembering Edith Windsor

Edith Windsor, later in her life, waving to onlookers as Grand Marshall of a Pride Parade.
Edith Windsor was often the Grand Marshall of many Pride Parades.

By Rosemary Anderson

The universe lost a star.

Edith “Edie” Windsor, an American LGBT rights activist, died last week at age 88 in the arms of her wife. A wife she wouldn’t have been able to call her own without the recent approval of same-sex marriage.

In fact, Edie herself was one of the many heroes that paved the way for marriage equality in the US.

Although I support my fellow womxn who see marriage as a controlled institution, the right to get married is extremely important to me. For the longest time LGBT people like myself could not spend their lives with the person they loved. I treasure the passion and determination of the brothers and sisters who came before me who fought to give me the same rights as every other American. For this, Edie Windsor is my hero.

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Marriage: A Beginning, Not an End

By: Madelyn Starritt

I started dating my first boyfriend when I was 17, got engaged when I was 19 and then married a year later. I am 22 now and will be celebrating my two year wedding anniversary in August. This might seem crazy or way too fast to some, but for me it was just right. Now, I am not some seasoned pro here to give unsolicited relationship advice. I am just a college girl who found love at a young age. I am here to share my experience about marrying young and how, contrary to popular belief, it has not destroyed my life.

Now I still have my whole life ahead of me so there is plenty of time for things to go sour but as of right now I don’t regret my decision to get hitched at 20. I think married life is great. It is not too much different from not being married even though every person asks us, “How does it feel?” and “How’s married life?” These are two questions my husband and I constantly got asked after we got married and even still now. It feels great to be married and I love it but honestly our lives didn’t change drastically after we said our vows. Some things did though.

Continue reading “Marriage: A Beginning, Not an End”

Surprise! Emotions are not a diagnosis for a woman’s pain

By Stephanie Sampson

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Over the years, I have experienced pain. I have experienced physical pain when I was a waitress and when I had other tedious, labor intensive jobs. I have experienced emotional pain when I lost my grandfather this past January. These times I have confided in my friends, family and my doctor in order to find some relief by talking to someone.

It is a common misconception in this country that women who come into a health facility exaggerate their amount of pain.

This misconception has led to many misdiagnoses and for some it has altered their lives drastically.

Continue reading “Surprise! Emotions are not a diagnosis for a woman’s pain”

The Attack on Single Moms

By Shanda Glover

On February 20, the Chicagoist reported on new legislation being filed in Springfield, Illinois. The bill, sponsored by two Republican state lawmakers, would deny a single mother financial assistance. If her child’s father is not listed on the birth certificate, she could be denied an official birth certificate.

Illinois Birth Certificate ExampleThe introduction of this bill has brought to light an ongoing judgment on our country’s single mothers.

The bill states:

“[T]hat if the unmarried mother cannot or refuses to name the child’s father, either a father must be conclusively established by DNA evidence or, within 30 days after birth, another family member who will financially provide for the child must be named, in court, on the birth certificate. Provides that absent DNA evidence or a family member’s name, a birth certificate will not be issued and the mother will be ineligible for financial aid from the State for support of the child.” Continue reading “The Attack on Single Moms”

Monotone Marriage Views

Jordan Clapper

As always, when I speak, or write, I try not to make rash generalizations. The world is full of variety, different people, different viewpoints, and I’m not here to critique the bulk of that world. Well, not in so many words. What I can share with you in the following blog is my experiences, things that I have noticed in my travels and ways in which I have been treated.

More precisely, I can tell you how both my wife and I have been treated, as this topic is as much about her as it is about me.

Interracial relationships, more specifically marriages, are not exactly common. You may think that they are fairly prevalent, but really take a look at your surroundings. Despite a decline in public displays of affection, which is another issue entirely, how often do you see a romantic couple, divergent in race, anywhere outside of Google? How often is it that you see anything other than monochromatic couples out there? This does not suggest that there is anything inherently wrong with dating/marrying inside one’s race or races; the problem comes from judging and expecting from others what has been accepted as an established norm.

That is to say, when I mention my wife to a stranger, it is safe to assume that they form an expectation in their minds. A great many times have I introduced my wife to strangers where I notice that small opening of their eyes, that subtle fluttering of the eyelids that suggests, “Well this is not what I was expecting.”

Truthfully, this can be passed off perhaps a measure of my own anxiety in the matter. Never once have I worried that people would think ill of my marriage or my choice in a mate. I couldn’t care less about their feelings in that regard; they have no ability to cast doubt in my mind over my choice. What does give me pause is whether or not the person standing across from me will delegitimize my marriage. That is a power that they do have.

Another example that I notice several times a week comes when we receive the check at restaurants. The question always erupts: “Will these be separate checks?” In a college town, this might be the norm. However, in moving across the country, in living back home in a primarily white area, the same was always true. I don’t remember a time where I have not had to answer that question. Nowadays, I just show the ring on my left hand as an answer and smile. This would not bother me roundly, were it not for a time that we dined with a pair of friends from undergrad. At the start of our meal, the waiter stared straight at my (then) fiancee and asked the question. Our friends, who were in fact dating, were not addressed in the same manner. They are both white.

Even now, I have to reel myself in. Our marriage is in a vast minority. If I count myself as a white man, our marriage constitutes 0.00278% of marriages (in 2010) in the United States. If I count myself as native (the only category close to that is “other), our marriage constitutes 0.000298% of marriages. That’s miniscule. Do I allot for such a minority in our marriage to justify the “Oh reallys” that we receive when we announce our marriage? I say no. Such a stance would delegitimize our marriage even further. Concessions on my part allow for ignorance on theirs, and, I believe, ignorance is not an excuse for betraying expectations.

I am in the unique position to educate people. The marriage I am a part of is unique, and I’m proud of that. I try to use these instances of ignorance (even if they be small) to stand proud and make an example of my life. I legitimize my marriage so that others cannot delegitimize it.

I recently read an article in which a woman, coincidentally in the exact same pairing as my wife and I, wrote of the plight black women face when black men date outside of their race. It frustrated me that interracial relationships and marriages, even from someone who took part in them herself, could be delegitimized,vastly on the assumptions she made with seemingly little research. I wish to combat this closed-mindedness. I am not stealing my wife’s agency, nor am I belittling or devaluing her as a woman or a black woman by tying myself to her for my life. The desegregation of marriage and of the views on marriage are intertwined, and such hypocrisy on either side of the perceived racial spectrum cannot be tolerated, no matter how contradictory your views and actions are.