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Oh, look, it’s the humans. They’re watching us.
Let’s give ‘em a show, BOYZ!



Exhibitionist Turkeys...Ready...




Strut, aha, strut, aha…
Funky turkey, yeah, funk it up, yeah…
Ready, set…







MOUNT!
Oh, look, they’re running away screaming…
Mission accomplished. Good job, BOYZ.
Duck, get lost. You’re such a peeping tom.




Ready, Set, Mount…, Eagle Eye and her toms mating on the patio,
June 2008, photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.





Other Things I’ve Learned:




-Related to post WRITING TOPIC – LIGHT AS A FEATHER.

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Last week I read the book Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher, Ph.D., and this week Jim is reading it. For anyone who hasn’t heard of this book, you’ll nonetheless recognize the phenomenon it describes — the adolescent girl’s loss of self.

Just think of a typical 10- or 11-year-old girl. Gangly, unconcerned with how she looks, willing to speak her mind without fear of embarrassment, curious, brash, silly. Now picture the same girl at ages 12, 13, 14. She’s moody, sometimes sullen, often preoccupied with saying just the right thing or saying nothing at all since nothing can’t be judged as “dumb” by her peers.

I’m reading Reviving Ophelia because in the short time Dee’s been in middle school, I see subtle changes in her and her small group of friends. I also see big differences between them and some of the other girls their age. I figure Dee is heading to where those other girls are, and I’m hoping I can help guide her journey there.

I’m also reading the book because friends of mine who are therapists working with girls this age suggested I read it. I’m taking their advice because I love who Dee is at her core, and I want to do what I can to help her be faithful to her true (goofy, in-awe-of-nature, big-hearted, mischievous) self.

It’s a lot harder to navigate the halls of adolescence today than it was when I was a kid. Yes, we had peer pressure and parents (like mine) who weren’t always overly involved in our lives. We had pot, and we had beer, and we had Annie Greensprings. But at least our media-influenced “ideals” were mostly about long, straight hair and white teeth (a.k.a. Marsha Brady and Laurie Partridge).

Today, tweens have the temptations of drugs, alcohol, and sex, plus they’ve been bombarded with images of a narcissist heiress leaving prison in skinny jeans and Marcello Toshi shoes, a genitalia-shaving-and-flashing drunken celebrity who parties and rehabs, parties and rehabs, and who else? Lindsay Lohan?

Dee and her peers live in a world of tube tops and breast implants and nose jobs. They’ve got girl-bashing music and sexualized everything. When last did they hear that it was en vogue to be kind to unpopular kids, to care about the poor, or be concerned by global warming?

This is not a now-that-she’s-in-middle-school revelation. Dee’s first day of second grade: A fellow seven-year-old arrives at our house wearing black mini skirt, black boots to her knee, red-and-black off-the-shoulder t-shirt, and black fingerless gloves that go past her elbow. She looks like a baby hooker. 

You can say (I did) that that girl’s parents weren’t on the ball. That they were at fault for buying their daughter that get-up. But the point is, that get-up was available at stores everywhere! That and t-shirts touting bad girls and sexy girls and spoiled girls. Elementary-aged girls can wear their own versions of the same high heel shoes that adult women wear.

Reviving Ophelia isn’t about anything we parents and others don’t already see and know, but it is a wake-up call to something for which I’ve become inured:

We are going backwards.

The other day, Dee brought me a Halloween circular from Party City. “Who’s this,” she asked, pointing to a woman with tall pinkish-white hair. “That’s Marie Antoinette,” I said. Then I started to study the image. 

I’ve included it at the end of this post. Take a look. They’re all women, and every one of them, without exception, is a sex kitten. This is the front cover; the back cover is just like it.

Alarmed, I rifled through the rest of the mail. I came across a postcard for a rug-cleaning company. I’ve included the flier’s image at the end of this post, too. Look at it. Tell me what you see. How old do you think the girl in the photo is? And what exactly does her near-naked body add to the notion of rug cleaning??

Wake up fathers, mothers, aunts!

Tell the 11- and 12-year-old girls in your life about lookism. Point out to them what it is society thinks they should be. Encourage them to choose different options. To be individuals and independent thinkers. To resist what has become the norm for girls and women today.

Explain that they might be shunned, but help them be strong. Be there for them. Guide them through choices they have to make.

Dee is not ours for much longer, but for the time we have her, we’re going to do our best to show her a different way.


Party City Halloween costume circular, front cover
Party City circular featuring Halloween costumes. Three pages filled with women as sex objects. October 2007.


Serafians Rugs flier
Serafian’s Oriental Rugs postcard flier featuring a young woman lying naked except for loose fabric, promoting rug cleaning. October 2007.

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Curve, 1993, woodblock print, from private art collection of student work, artist unknown, photo alteration © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Curve, 1993, woodcut, from private art collection of student work, artist unknown, photo alteration © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


While perusing the health and vigor of our categories last night, I had a realization: writers rarely write about sex. Our Sex category has a measly 5 posts, which leads me to wonder, why bother to have a sex category at all?

I thought about my favorite literature writers and tried to remember what they had written about sex. I did come up with a chapter in Stoner, a book assigned to us in a Natalie Goldberg Taos Intensive last year. It’s a favorite on my bookshelf now, and contains one of the most subtly erotic accounts I’ve ever read about making love.

(If you don’t know about Stoner or John Williams, read the dynamic interview, John Williams: Plain Writer by Dan Wakefield in the 10th Anniversary issue of Ploughshares.)

Some see making love and sex as two different things. And now that I think about it, so do I. But different how? I’m not sure I can answer that in an on-the-fly blog post.

I remembered last night, that about 4 years ago, I wrote a tasteful erotic piece called Lean Into The Curves, about the virtues of making love as compared to learning to ride my Honda Rebel. There is something sensual about motorcycle riding; and the instructor who wore scarlet Harley boots with flames shooting off the sides, only added fuel to the fire.

I stood up at a microphone (dressed in a crisp, white, open-collared blouse, dangling silver earrings, black Levi’s, cherry lipstick, and a black, short-cut blazer) and read the piece at a venue in Minneapolis (no longer in existence) called hotBed. The audience was full of 150 women who all laughed at the right places and cheered at the end, wildly clapping when Ella Fitzgerald’s At Last echoed through the room as I read the final lines.

The sound woman was right on cue.

It’s hard to imagine standing up and reading that same piece today. Have I lost my edge? Or are there too few places to submit that kind of work.

Most people have sex at least once in their lifetime. And it’s alive and well on family TV and in G-rated films. So why don’t writers write about sex? Or the erotic? Or making love?

I don’t have any answers. Only to say that, thank goodness, some do.

Here is a poem from Galway Kinnell called, simply – Sex. Exquisite. I heard him read it at the Fitzgerald Theater earlier this year. I’m heading to the writing table right now. Maybe I’ll get inspired.


Sex
by Galway Kinnell

On my hands are the odors
of the knockout ether
either of above the sky
where the bluebirds get blued
on their upper surfaces
or of down under the earth
where the immaculate nightcrawlers
take in tubes of red earth
and polish their insides.

-from Strong Is Your Hold, Poems, Houghton Mifflin, 2006

posted on red Ravine Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

-related to post, Forget Vonnegut – Jane Kenyon Lives On 

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Shoes Stay On 3Shoes Stay On 2Boots Stay On Full

Shoes Stay On 2Boots Stay On FullShoes Stay On 3

Boots Stay On FullShoes Stay On 3Shoes Stay On 2

Inspired by this topic.

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Shoes Stay On

Boots Stay On FullShoes Stay On 2Shoes Stay On 2

Second in a series. Inspired by this topic.

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