Monday, June 30, 2008

Get Yo' Condom On

So. HUGE turn-off: boys who whine about condoms. "Oh, it just don't feel right, baby." "Oh, I can't get off with a condom on." "Seriously, I'm clean, you're clean, 's'all good!"

I am surprisingly liberal about sex. But, seriously? You want to start whining about fucking putting a condom on? FUCK YOU. Even if you've never slept with me and do it to other girls and boys. FUCK YOU.

I don't know if you slept through the awkward videos about boys having strange new sensations in their pants, and girls having boobs pop out of their chests, but somewhere around that time, way back in highschool (or whenever you got sex-ed) you should have heard something about protecting yourself about STDs. (Although I think my class spent more time discussing why STD [Sexually Transmitted Diseases] was not politically correct, and therefore the term was supposed to be the sanitized STI [Sexually Transmitted Infection], even we got to the point where it was stated) the best way to protect yourself against STD/Is is to wear a condom. And as much as I think teachers gave lots of shitty advice in highschool, that's rock-solid. (Personally, I think they should have made us all watch the Canadian AIDs Musical Zero Patience rather than the awkward adolescent ones, but oh, well.)

So. I fully support casual sex. But seriously, people, let's make it a habit to use condoms. It seems that since celebrities stopped dropping dead of AIDs that people are no longer quite as concerned about STD/Is. Maybe it's a trend leaking up from the USA, where sex-ed appears to be mostly "sex is godless, be abstinent until marriage, then fuck like rabbits to make God's children", but it's a fucking stupid trend, and we all need to nip the fucker in the bud.

I'm really not the most educated about sex and STD/Is. But I'm smart enough to respect my body (as well as the body of my sexual partner) and use some fucking protection. And condoms come in so many different textures and sizes... (I actually prefer screwing with condoms because boy's penises don't have interesting textures).

This was going to be a lot longer, but I'm lazy. Typing is hard work, damn it. So, instead of me bothering to do a lot of research, stringing it all together candidly and writing something somewhat useful, I will provide links to other websites where people have done all the work for me.

- Sue Johanson is my inspiration for how I want to be when I'm an older woman. This is an index of her articles, (We need to put up a link to her website; Sue Johanson=God)

- Dan Savage is my gay celebrity crush. Because he's so good at snapping at people for their stupidity. We already have a link over on the side, but in case you can't find it:".

On a side note: I wonder if ignorance about sexuality related topics is linked to the fact we learned about sex-ed in gendered classes in highschool. I always wondered what the boys learned in their Phys-Ed Sex Ed Unit. I remember walking in their and there was a big note on the board about how important it was that young men try out many different relationships and date girls because it would teach them important social skills.
I don't remember being told, as a girl, that it was good to try out many different relationships. More that as far as sex was concerned, you should "wait till you're ready", make sure he's "right", whatever the fuck that means. (I hated that crap, even before I was sexually active, I think I always wanted to an empowered tramp) The biggest thing I remember from girls' Phys-Ed Sex Ed Unit was being told "If he wants to have sex with you while your clothing's on, he doesn't love you." And, similarly, same thing about quickies. (Fuck that... quickies can be awesome; clothing can be hot.) That and the distressing video of a woman's vagina as she gave birth. Eugh. I think that was the final nail in the coffin for any babies I could have had; right after the semi-mythological "womanly power of fertility" crap. (I do respect women who choose to be mothers, and I think babies and young children are cute. I just don't want one of my own, thanks.)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Art Shows

I wandered around 401 Richmond in Toronto today (for the first time in a while), looking through the shows at Open Studio, Redhead Gallery and the rest (on the main floor… I’m terrible for not going upstairs).

Two shows really stood out to me, however, Existing in Costume, by Chan-Hyo Bae at Gallery 44 and Dry Spell by Sau Wai Tai at WARC Gallery.

Existing in Costume – Chan-Hyo Bae Gallery 44
This show was a series of photographs of the (male) artist dressed up as unidentified English queens – although many of the portraits seem fairly recognisable and likely are easy to identify with very little effort.
The literature that goes with the show states that “One is readily reminded of Yasumasa Morimura, the Japanese artist who casts himself in Western art’s biggest roles, and also, perhaps, of the phenomenon of cosplay – the subculture of dressing up like fictional or historical characters … Bae seems to be performing a blatant paradox: that of the outsider gleefully destabilizing the hierarchies of a culture about which he has admittedly fantasized, but which has forbade him full entrance because of an unalterable ethnicity”. The colonial aspects of this show were interesting, and I’m sure could be used to fill many essays.
I was more interested in the gender-switches. I suppose I could write an essay that fuses together post-colonial theory with gender theory but… hey, I’m not going to.
What I enjoyed about these cross-dressing images was that they looked very honest. Like they lacked the sarcasm and over-the-top foof that generally comes with male cross-dressing. (Fuck, can’t believe I just said that… I don’t think that cross-dressing should even be a word… in my ideal world, everyone just wears whatever the fuck they want, regardless of gender norms). In fact, one of the things that I liked about these photographs was that even though proportionally Bae’s body looked a little… off… to be female, I could have believed him to be a European Renaissance queen, because regardless of the humour of the project, it also has a very stirring sincerity to it. It felt as though Bae was attempting (or, rather, succeeding?) to either understand or empathise with the English Queens he is portraying.

Dry Spell – Sau Wai Tai WARC Gallery
Now, Revista has already left an entry about this show about two days ago, so I’m not going to talk about it too much. I am still writing this because it was, in my opinion, one of the best shows I have seen in recent times.
It was well put together, and seemed all very appropriate. The artist’s concerns were amazingly (and unfortunately) appropriate, and I enjoyed the opportunity to add my own “thoughts or stories” to the wall. The privatization of fresh water is something that I find, personally, very disturbing – even a fairly revolting trend of capitalism as we continuously allow necessities of life to be bought and sold.
The show doesn’t really mention some things that have happened in recent years – like the way the World Bank forced a South American country to privatize its water system, selling it off to an American corporation. When the corporation wanted more money for the water than most could afford, they repeatedly forced laws into effect, making it illegal to even collect rainwater. Eventually this led to revolution…
That’s all that I’m planning to really add… Revista’s entry has the description included. What the description of the show doesn’t mention, is the way the scattered bottles reflect (to me at least) evoke a message about the waste involved in bottling water – not only through the waste and privatization of water resources, but the garbage created by cheap, plastic non-reusable bottles.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dry Spell

I recently attended the opening of Sau Wai Tai's show at the Women's Art Resource Centre. Such a show, which demonstrates a feminist ethic applied to interlinking environmental and social justice issues, takes art not for its aesthetic but its potential to demonstrate, to involve the masses by taking them past speculating on a visual culture made only for their living room walls. Sau Wai Tai's exhibition "Dry Spell" deals specifically with the water crisis and allows the viewer to make the connections between the commodification/desecration of water resources to the trafficking of women caught in development paradigms.

The press release below:

"Sau Wai Tai

May 24 - June 21, 2008

Dry Spell presents Toronto artist, Sau Wai Tai¹s mixed media investigation into climate change. While floods and hurricanes command the media¹s attention as effects of global warming, severe and intensifying droughts have been largely un-reported even as the percentage of land affected has substantially increased over the last decade. Privatization of water by bottling industries, and the prioritizing of industrial needs, aggregate the problem for communities with little political/economic power. Dry Spell highlights environmental injustices against the global South with special attention to the ordeal of women. Many have suffered and perished as they tried to bring home water and feed their families. In the gallery, the artist constructs a drying, cracking Å’paddy field¹ with gradually dying seedlings. Also in the gallery lie four locked 80 litre water boxes. At the Third World Water Forum, it was said that 80 litres of water per person, per day are necessary to maintain a reasonable standard of life. Text etched onto the boxes references uses such as pop and bottled water, toilets and urban etiquette, industry and agricultural processes etc. On the floor lie scattered bottles of water containing submerged pictures of women of colour consumed/to be consumed and discarded away. A dim image with native women from Mother Earth Water Walk walking around the Great Lakes to reclaim sacred water is projected onto a gallery wall.

Sau Wai is a cultural hybrid living and working in Toronto: She was made in Hong Kong, did her tertiary education in Australia and then worked with various non-government organizations after she returned from her studies, including relief and development works in Asian countries. Realizing the importance of how the environment plays upon the well being of people living in the margins, especially women, she came to Toronto to earn a Masters degree in environmental studies. It is thus natural for her work to cross borders and to interweave dialogue about the environment, gender, class and race to highlight connections in a perceived fragmented world. She also embraces a critical understanding of humanities role in manufacturing the environmental crises and interprets the word "environment" to include the implications of the interplay between political, social, cultural and
economical global elements."