I can't be your grandbabymama

I think I can understand why you want a grandchild.After all, many years ago, you wanted a child. You could picture a baby crib filling the empty corner in the unused office overlooking the driveway. You flipped through magazines, furnishing the room with ideas.Then, finally, you were pregnant. You furnished the room for real, this time: crib, changing table, soft animals, color....more

It's Alive

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I wrote about how chivalry was dead. At the time, I declared us women responsible for that death. It was our fault. We were the ones that had stabbed it to death. We let the blood drain from its body and we watched as it went cold and stiff with the void....more

Addyi or Addy-uh-uh?

Earlier this month the FDA approved the drug, Addyi (Filbanserin) making it the first ever prescription treatment for hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women. Studies showed that the (all too cliché) pink pill, manufactured by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, increased sexual desire in 37% of their test subjects. Let’s take a moment to talk a little more in depth about Addyi and hopefully separate some myth from fact....more

Why I Used To Hate Battered Women

 For years, whenever I’d hear of a woman standing by an abusive man, I’d wonder what bodies she’d helped him bury. I’d wonder what crimes she’d helped him conceal. I’d see her as an accomplice to misery, and not just her own. Every battered woman was a criminal in my eyes.It took me years to see that not every battered woman will “allow” her abuser to terrorize her children.My mother did, though. She watched my father chase me into closets, call me a cunt, a whore, a worthless piece of shit, and yell, “You’re no god damn good to anybody.” She watched him make lewd remarks about my body, put small objects down my shirt, and make rape jokes directed at me. She watched him.  And she did nothing. She stood by her man.My father was large and bullish and emanated threat.  He bragged about the men he’d beat up in bars, while my mother beamed proudly at him. He only hit her once that I witnessed, but he menaced her, as he did all of us. She worshipped him like an Old Testament God, no matter what devastation he caused.My mother didn’t see everything my father did to me. She didn’t see the part that stopped when I turned 12 and started menstruating (“women’s bodies are ugly” my father used to say). She didn’t see what he did when I was still his “princess”, before my body betrayed him and my awareness exposed him. But she certainly saw enough.During my teenage years I lived in constant fear of my father raping and murdering me.  I held my breath when he entered a room. I moved my body very carefully so I wouldn’t arouse his hostility. I did this years after he had stopped touching me. He would leer at me and let me know that he could rape me again. And that no one would stop him. And that was true. I needed to believe that my mother loved me. When she saw me sobbing in my bedroom and closed the door, offering no acknowledgment or comfort, I knew I could not go to her with my pain. As I grew obese and smelly from lack of showering, from never changing my underwear, from wearing the same clothes everyday,  she looked right through me. As I lived friendless, nearly mute, skipped weeks and months of school, and became a high school drop out, her eyes glanced off of me.She erased me. Still, I adored my mother. I had to. The alternative would be accepting that I had no parents at all.  I needed to love her. I needed to believe she loved me. I could not have survived without that fantasy to cling to.Slowly and steadily, by sneaking off to a therapist who my family thought was a diet doctor, I began to recover from my various eating disorders, stopped self-harming, and stopped plotting my own death. I learned to drive, I began to wash, I moved out of my parent’s home. I began to meet people’s eyes when they spoke to me.  I began to heal.And then, in my mid twenties, a magnificent thing happened: my father dropped dead of a massive heart attack.Just two days before, as I’d been getting ready to leave on a long road trip, he said “I hope you get gang-raped by a bunch of n*ggers.” Those were the last words he ever spoke to me.The coroner ruled my father’s death “cocaine related”, but my mother insisted the coroner was wrong. I had no idea whether he was or not. I only knew that my father was dead, and that his death was the best thing that ever happened to me.In the 30 years since he died, I’ve had many nightmares that he was still alive. His death seemed too good to be true. And the best part of his dying, besides being free from terror, was that I would finally be loved by my mother. My father would no longer come between us.So, I moved back in with her to “help her with her grief”. This time, she would love me. I would tell her what he had done to me, and she would finally be on my side.I waited for almost two years before I told her anything. I was cautious at first, only telling her a few “minor” things. And, although she didn’t react with motherly heartache, she considered the possibility that there was something to be angry about (mainly the fact that he had molested HER daughter, not that he had molested me). When she expressed less concern than I’d hoped, I told her a little more, with more detail. She seemed more upset this time, but skeptical. I still hadn’t gotten the outpouring of love I’d been waiting for. So I shared a nightmare as if it were a memory, hoping that would do the trick. “Now she’ll care”, I thought. But it backfired. I’d pushed too hard. She sensed my ambivalence. My blurry nightmare/memory  was part bad dream, part worst fears, part filling in old blanks,  and she saw her way out. “If you believe that happened, you must be insane,” she said, “Your father never hurt you at all.”And that was that. It was over. And I saw how it had always been. I was not her daughter, I was her rival. The cruel jabs, the sabotage, the delight she took in his hurting me (I’m the favorite, not you) it all came back.  There was never any hope. She had never loved me, she had only loved him. If he wanted to rape me, that was a small price to pay for his devotion.So, I lost the family I’d never had. And it was the worst pain I’d ever felt.  It hurt so badly that I wrote my mother a note telling her that I had false memory syndrome – that my father had never touched me. But it was too late. We both knew the truth. It didn’t matter what he’d done, or not done. I had presumed to believe that she would choose me over him. But by telling her what he’d done, I ‘d forced myself to see the truth.We have to break our own hearts to break the cycle of abuse. And that’s what I did. Unlike most women in my family, I did not become a whipping post for a man. My grandmother was beaten, cheated on, and thrown against a wall in late pregnancy. My aunts were terrorized, bullied, spat upon, and chased with guns. “That’s just how men are,” they would tell me. “Better get used to it.”But the women in my family were wrong. I’ve had three marriages and many romantic relationships, most of them dysfunctional, but not once in my adult life has a man raped me, hit me, threatened to hit me, or verbally abused me. As far as I know, no man has ever even cheated on me. I used to think this was because I was smarter and stronger than women who were battered. But I don’t think that anymore. The truth is, I was so bludgeoned by the trauma of incest that I wasn’t able to make a friend, much less go on a date, until I was 28 years old. When I went on my first date with a man, I was 5 years past the danger zone for women who get trapped in abusive relationships.Women are at greatest risk of being battered between the ages of 16 and 24, which are also the years when they are most biologically fertile. Children born to battered women are 1500% more likely to be physically abused, sexually abused, or seriously neglected. And since children are more likely to be murdered by their mother’s intimate partner than by anyone else, it’s pretty clear that being the child of a  battered woman is extremely dangerous. But who’s to blame for that danger? The battered woman or the man who beats her? Who’s to blame when he tries to leave and she begs him to stay? Who’s to blame when she does leave, then returns again and again?For most of my life I’d have said it was her. I despised battered women for their “weakness”. But then it occurred to me that “weakness” was an incredibly cruel reason to hate someone. I didn’t hate mothers who kept relapsing on meth, even though using meth hurts children. I didn’t hate mothers who were depressed or suicidal, even though maternal depression hurts children. So why did I hate women who couldn’t get away from abusive men?“That’s just how men are. Better get used to it.”Clearly, this was a personal issue. This was not about battered women. This was about me and my mother. And while the chains binding my mother to my father were made of narcissism, that is not true of all battered women. Most battered women are chained to violent men both by psychological injury and  the misogynistic society we live in.Battered woman’s syndrome is a devastating form of PTSD that traps battered women with their abusers. It is soul-crushing. Women with this condition feel worthless, helpless, and useless. They often live in a dissociative fog of numbness and self-contempt. Nothing feels real except their abuser, who seems bigger than life and overwhelmingly powerful. He humiliates and degrades them, yet may be the only source of “love” they’ve ever known. Given this reality, it’s insane to ask why women stay. The more appropriate question is, how does any woman find the strength to leave?  I did not leave my father’s house until I was 22 years old. I felt too ugly ,worthless, and invisible to leave before then.  And so I stayed. I slept in the bedroom right next to the man I knew would rape and murder me one day. I was a grown woman, and yet I stayed.Now do you see why I hated battered women? They not only reminded me of my mother, they reminded me of myself. They reminded me of just how trapped and powerless a person could feel.But perhaps it’s time that I forgave battered women for being so much like me. And perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that my sisters and I weren’t battered because we failed. We were battered because somebody failed us.And we are all heroes for surviving it....more

I May Miss New York, But I Will Never Miss the Cat-Calling

Though I now live in North Jersey, I put in my time living in Queens and Jersey City (which we considered a borough of Manhattan -- I mean seriously, it is) for seven years. I have also worked/trained/performed in NYC since my dad started taking me to auditions when I was ten. ...more

My Teenage Daughter Wants To Be A Prostitute And I Fully Support Her Decision

I have a brilliant, beautiful, 19 year old daughter, who recently told me she wants to be a prostitute.At a time in her life when I thought we would be sending out college applications , we are working together on composing sex ads for the erotic services website, Backpage. Yes, you read that correctly. I am not only helping her write sex ads, I am helping her choose which photos of herself to post online....more

Women’s Situation Rooms boost peaceful voting in Africa

Cross-posted from UN Women It’s 28 March 2015—Election Day in Nigeria—and scores of youth incident reporters are working around the clock to record complaints, observations and queries about violence against women, fielding calls from across the country received at a toll–free line . The constant hum of ringing phones and the rising rhythm of voices crescendos around this special room, known as the Women’s Situation Room. ...more

F**k Society’s Idea Of Beauty

What is your idea of beauty? Can beauty be defined by age, skin color or body shape? Confucius once said “Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it”. Who gets to decide? We all have said beauty is in the eye of the beholder, comes from within and so forth. But beauty is more than just a visual experience; it is a characteristic that provides a perceptual experience to the eye, the intellect and the ear. It is some kind of satisfaction to our senses. Why do the majority of women from all over the world struggle with feeling beautiful, confident and happy with themselves?...more

Fifty Shades of Concrete

It began as a convenience store - a Minit Mart or 7-Eleven maybe... I forget, but you know the building I’m talking about. For several years they were successful selling gas, cigarettes and Big Swigs before they moved closer to the interstate and abandoned this structure.  After a while, a talented burger-flipper thought he could turn the empty building into a lucrative greasy spoon, but he was wrong. The concrete blocks were soon vacant again....more

Would You Sling the Titty Tote Over Your Shoulders?

Filthy Gorgeous Media's selling the Titty Tote--Gonna add it to your collection? -PJ Gach...more