The Sistah Vegan Project

Archive for the category “Sexuality and Sexual Orientation”

Cruelty-Free Orgasm: The Art and Ethics of Sexual Pleasure

There are so many drugs and products out there that rely on the use of animal experimentation. Sexual products, such as prescription drugs to help with health sexual function are not exempt. Hypnosis Erotic offers the ethical and cruelty-free** solution to ethical vegans and vegetarians. See below some of Talmadge’s work with a couple to achieve orgasmic pleasure. Even though there is no nudity or sexual activity in this video, the moaning is quite loud, so please be careful when listening if you are in a public space– in particular, work. Use headphones. I appreciate that the Talmadge makes it clear in this video and many other of his products and videos that these products should be used responsibly and with consent.

You can find more out about Hypnosis Erotic at this link.

Enjoy :-) and if you like articles like these, please donate to the Sistah Vegan project.

 

One good girl is worth a thousand bitches(?): Kanye West Confuses the Sh*t Out of Me

For the first time in my life, I have been exposed to a Kanye West music video. The other day, my husband asked me if I had seen the new West video, Bound 2.  I told him that I had never consciously listened to West, but from the few quotes I have heard repeated from him, via popular media, I have no interest in supporting his ‘art.’

My husband told me that I just had to watch Bound 2 with him. So, we watched it together and we laughed through the entire thing.

Seriously, can someone please explain to me how it’s possible to sing something like “One good girl is worth a thousand bitches” and then also speak publicly about how Jimmy Kimmel is being racist towards you as a Black man? Did I miss something? And I’m asking these questions not to dismiss West’s experiences with racism, but more or so not sure how one can constantly be sensitive to anti-Black male racism yet be completely insensitive to their own misogyny and sexism; their objectification of women. In a tweet to respond to Jimmy Kimmel’s parody of West, West wrote something to the effect of how much more “pussy” he (West) gets than Kimmel. Excuse me? What, are we in junior high again with the immature uncritical insults? Yes, it’s obvious that West’s feelings were hurt, but to respond in that way (i.e. talking about how he gets more ‘pussy’) is not productive.

In the lyrics to Bound, West sings while holding his fiancee, “One good girl is worth a thousand bitches.”  As a PhD with focus in critical race feminism, I am unapologetically biased against the meaning and power behind these types of lyrics.

And I am just really confused as well as disappointed. Why? I have met plenty of Black cisgender straight identified men who are sensitive to racism, understand how it works structurally… yet they are insensitive/unaware of how they perpetuate sexism and misogyny. (Or, perhaps they know but just don’t care because they hate not having racial privilege but enjoy the  ‘natural’ position of male privilege? )

And I want to make connections across the board. I have met a lot of straight Black men in the holistic health (vegan/raw) movement who are really aware and critical of structural racism and legacies of white supremacy that affect Black physical and emotional health… but then a significant number of them believe in the ‘naturalness’ of heterosexism, sexism, patriarchy, and being homophobic and transphobic… And yes, there are plenty of white males in the animal rights and vegan movement who totally get how messed up speciesism is, but they engage in racist ways of doing animal rights and social justice, only to become upset and defensive when one points out to them that they are being simultaneously anti-speciesist but racist… and yes, many have also engaged in sexist and sexual harassment behavior. Am I missing something here?

Thank goodness for Seth Rogen and James Franco for creating this parody:

[Updated Nov 27, 2013] I wanted to clarify that I don’t find it funny because two men are kissing or lovers. I found the video funny because Rogen and Franco are doing the exact same movements as Kim and Kanye. I also found it clever to have two men together because of the heteronormative/heterosexist culture that pervades mainstream/Top 40 Hip Hop in the USA. For Kanye, it would seem that being a ‘true’ man is calling certain women bitches and talking about all the ‘pussy’ he can get. It’s all so predictable on how he lets us know ‘how to be a real black man’ through being misogynist and hypersexualized striaght Black man. I’d imagine Kanye would never have two men together in his videos to represent love and masculinity. But, this is simply how I was reading the Bound 2 parody and why I thought the video was hilarious.

‘Authentic Blackness’ as Christian, Speciesist, and Heteronormative: Brief Thoughts on Being a Non-Christian Black Woman

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Dr. Amie Breeze Harper, 2013

Unlike most Black folk I know, I was not raised in a household that subscribed to any particular religious beliefs. My parents were basically agnostic, but my parents were always open to my twin and I exploring religious philosophies. Many members of my extended family are or were Jehovah’s Witnesses or Baptists. One of my aunts gave my brother and I the gift of Watchtower subscription, a magazine dedicated to Jehovah’s Witness faith, when we were children. I found the stories and lessons both entertaining and confusing. However, for me, it just didn’t feel like the right path.

I remember I was at a family event one year. I was in my early 20s. My father was talking to one of my male family members who is a Jehovah’s Witness. Somehow, they started talking about animals. “Paul” (I’m just calling my male family member that to protect his identity) told my dad his interpretation of the Bible when it came to non-human animals: “God says we have dominion over them, so that means we can eat them.” My dad just shook his head and laughed to himself that one could interpret ‘dominion’ as ‘domination’ so they didn’t have to acknowledge and/or admit that non-human animals feel and suffer. That they can lie to themselves that animal are not sentient and can used for any human desire. Suffice to say, “Paul” simply didn’t care, because that is what his Bible said, case closed.

I also have the feeling that when I tell most Black folk that I am not Christian, that my Blackness and loyalties are questioned. The other week, I received a private email from a ‘fan’ who seemed very disappointed that I did not even talk about the importance of Christianity and healing in Black communities during the Sistah Vegan conference…and she also suggested that my new social fiction novel Scars marginalized ‘regular’ Black Christian straight girls like her (since the main character is a Black lesbian). You can go here http://sistahvegan.com/2013/10/21/the-black-queer-experience-is-not-our-experience-breeze-harpers-new-social-fiction-novel/ to read the post about her reaction to Scars .

Even though I do know that blackness is not a monolith, Black folk in the USA are stereotyped to be all Christian and heteronormative. This fan’s email got me thinking about how much not being raised as Christian– or with any form of organized religion– has deeply impacted my interactions with those [Black] people who can’t fathom a type of authentic Blackness WITIHOUT it being connected to Christianity, speciesism, and heteronormativity. My practice of Zen Buddhism often confuses Black folk.

Do you have a religious faith or not? How has having a religious faith (or not) impacted your sense of animal compassion and/or vegan philosophy? Did you grow up in a household in which religion was used to justify/rationalize the eating of animals (as well as perhaps other oppressions, such as racism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy, or ableism)?

The Black Queer Experience is Not ‘Our’ Experience: Breeze Harper’s New Social Fiction Novel

It is official. I have signed a contract with Sense Publishers to publish the book Scars for 2014. Sense Publishers is the perfect press for Scars.  They embody exactly what I would like my novel to achieve. Below is a description of this publisher’s social fiction series of which Scars will be included:

“The Social Fictions series emerges out of the arts-based research movement. The series includes full-length fiction books that are informed by social research but written in a literary/artistic form (novels, plays, and short story collections). Believing there is much to learn through fiction, the series only includes works written entirely in the literary medium adapted. Each book includes an academic introduction that explains the research and teaching that informs the book as well as how the book can be used in college courses. The books are underscored with social science or other scholarly perspectives and intended to be relevant to the lives of college students—to tap into important issues in the unique ways that artistic or literary forms can.” 

-Patricia Leavy, PhD

Scars_cover

The painting above will be used in the design of the cover. It was created by Sarah Dorsey after she read the novel.

Below is the full Preface for Scars. However, before you read the preface, I wanted to share this next tidbit withyou. The title of this blog piece, “The Black Queer Experience is Not ‘Our’ Experience”, was inspired by an email I received a few days ago from a Black identified Christian woman who had found out about Scars. Via a long email, she ultimately let me know that the premise of Scars alienated regular Black girls like her and that it was not ‘our’ story; ‘our’ being Black people’s story or authentic way of being. Even though she has not read the book, I found it incredibly interesting and as well as heartbreaking that she sent me an email that basically let me know she was disappointed in this new project. She sincerely thinks that the book’s main character (a Black teen lesbian) is too ‘controversial’ and ‘edgy.’ Hence, ‘regular’ Black girls like her (heterosexual) were being marginalized and she felt that I should be using my prominent voice to write about more pressing and important issues affecting the Black community. So, essentially, this book hasn’t even been published yet and I’m already receiving these types of messages. Anyway, I wanted to share that tidbit with you because I am constantly amazed by how “Blackness” and authenticity amongst Black folk is a complex and controversial issue; how we are monitored when we fall outside of being a ‘regular’ Black person (which I assume means hetero-normative and Christian identified). It is worrisome and disturbing to think that there are many Black folk who honestly feel that the queer experience is not part of our history; that we’re not part of the authentic community of Blackness in the USA. Even though this is her opinion, and the email she sent me was written respectfully and politely, it still hurt very deeply to read that. However, this is why I continue to write and do the work that I do. I feel like silence just creates more suffering and pain, so my writing becomes a platform to discuss these issues that are taboo for so many, including not just homosexuality, but also how white supremacy in the USA affects the emotional and physical health of everyone– not just people color. I welcome you read the preface to ScarsI am also hoping that if the preface strikes a chord with you would you have interest in inviting me to come and speak and create interactive discussion from Scars. Please email me at breezeharper (at) gmail (dot ) com to discuss my honorarium fees and travel requirements. Also, I am open to be interviewed for radio, tv, blogs, and other forms of media.

Preface for Scars

Scars is a novel about whiteness, racism, and breaking past the normative boundaries of heterosexuality, as experienced through eighteen year old Savannah Penelope Sales. Savannah is a Black girl, born and raised in a white, working class, and rural New England town. She is in denial of her lesbian sexuality, harbors internalized racism about her body, and is ashamed of being poor. She lives with her ailing mother whose Emphysema is a symptom of a mysterious past of suffering and sacrifice that Savannah is not privy to. When Savannah takes her first trip to a major metropolitan city for two days, she never imagines how it will affect her return back home to her mother… or her capacity to not only love herself, but also those who she thought were her enemies.  Scars is about the journey of friends and family who love Savannah and try to help her heal, all while they too battle their own wounds and scars of being part of multiple systems of oppression and power. Ultimately, Scars makes visible the psychological trauma and scarring that legacies of colonialism have caused to both the descendants of the colonized and the colonizer… and the potential for healing and reconciliation for everyone willing to embark on the journey.

As a work of social fiction born out of years of critical race, Black feminist, and critical whiteness studies scholarship, Scars engages the reader to think about USA culture through the lens of race, whiteness, working-class sensibilities, sexual orientation, and how rural geography influences identity consciousness. What makes this novel unique its emphasis on Black and lesbian teen experience of whiteness and racism within rural geographies. Often, interrogations of whiteness and socio-economic class are left out of fictional literature within popular LGBTQ literature. My intention with Scars is to fill this gap by creating emotionally intense dialogues among four primary characters: Savannah Penelope Sales, Davis Allen, Esperanza Perez, and Erick Roberts.

Davis Allen is one of Savannah’s best friends. A straight white male who grew up on a rural dairy farm in Savannah’s home town, Davis and Savannah have been close friends since they were toddlers. Davis is the only white friend Savannah has ever chosen to develop a close relationship with. When Davis and Savannah interact with each other, the intimacies of their conversations reveal an interesting dynamic: Davis’s perception of reality manifests from what Savannah has marked as “a privileged point of entry”: white, male, lower-middle class, and straight. Davis can never experience Savannah’s embodied experience as a Black lesbian. Growing up in a country that has institutionally legitimized whiteness and heterosexuality as ‘normal’, Davis’s white and straight identity limits him to superficially interpreting Savannah’s verbal hostility as nothing more than stereotypical “angry Black female” banter.

The second theme developed in Scars is the irreconcilable differences that Erick Roberts and Savannah endure in their rocky new platonic relationship. Erick and Savannah both identify as same gender loving, however, that is where similarities between them end. Their frequent antagonistic verbal intercourses deconstruct the common myth that being gay or lesbian means they will instantly connect emotionally to each other as comrades in the same battle against heterosexism. The exhaustive energy it takes for both to maintain their volatile relationship has it’s roots in Erick’s oblivion to the fusion of his upper-middle class status and his white male privilege when attempting to advise Savannah about being and coming out as a [Black, poor, and rural] lesbian.

The third and more subtle theme developed in Scars centers on how Savannah’s perception of oppression is positioned within a geopolitically global North perspective. Savannah never acknowledges her privilege as a USA national; only her lack of privileges as a non-white person. She considers herself revolutionary in thought in comparison to the people living in the provincial town she grew up in. Simultaneously, she has no awareness of her perpetuation of inequality outside of the USA; for example, Savannah is unaware of how many people of color outside of the USA are exploited so she buy cheap coffee, chocolate, and Coco-Cola. Esperanza Perez, a key character, is one of her best friends. Esperanza, a vegan and fair trade anti-globalization activist who originally grew up in Guatemala, visits Savannah from college. Through honest and heartfelt dialogues with Esperanza, Savannah’s oblivious understanding of her geopolitical Northern privilege is revealed. I hope to engage the reader to empathize with Savannah’s realistic struggles with “whiteness as the invisible norm in the USA,” while also addressing the need for Savannah to engage deeper into social injustice by encompassing and linking Black struggles and USA racism to a broader range of social and ecological inequalities throughout the world.

Born out of my Dartmouth College thesis social research in feminist geography, award winning Masters work at Harvard University, and my dissertation work at the University of California-Davis, Scars emphasizes how rural geographies of whiteness can impact the consciousness and young identity development of non-white youth who seemingly ‘don’t belong’ in rural settings of whiteness and hetero-normativity; yet, the reader sees during Savannah’s trip to her first major metropolitan city, she is very much out of place. Furthermore, Savannah contrasts the mainstream media stereotype that the “authentic Black experience” is from heterosexual Blacks raised in predominantly urban landscapes. Even though the critical theory in this novel has been translated into creative writing format, it is notable that Scars was significantly influenced by a strong canon of Black critical thinkers and writers stemming back to W.E.B. DuBois. My choice to title the book Scars reflects the legacy of Black anti-colonialist Frantz Fanon and his intense dedication to making visible, the psychological trauma and scarring that colonialism, white supremacy, and racism have caused to both the colonized and the colonizer. Furthermore, this book continues the traditions of bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and Octavia Butler who have written extensively about the ‘the problem of the color line.’ However unlike Fanon and DuBois’ more hetero-normative and masculinist analyses, hooks, Lorde, and Butler have complicated the ‘problem of the color line’ with intersectional analysis of gender and sexual orientation.

Scars can be used as a springboard for discussion, self-reflection and social reflection for students enrolled in American Studies, Sociology, Women’s Studies, Sexuality Studies, African American Studies, human geography, LGBTQ studies and critical whiteness studies courses, or it can be read entirely for pleasure.

-A. Breeze Harper, PhD

Transphobia and Heterosexism are not “Liberating” or “Cruelty-Free”: On Veganism, Ce Ce McDonald, and Trayvon Martin

I just read The Unjust Murder of Trayvon Martin is a LGBT/Feminist/Human Rights Issues by Dr. Eric Anthony Grollman.

Source: http://mjcdn.motherjones.com/preset_12/cece2v2_0.jpg

CeCe McDonald                                      Source: http://mjcdn.motherjones.com/preset_12/cece2v2_0.jpg

I have been pondering over how the mainstream media in the USA tends to focus on racially motivated violence enacted on cisgender-identified Black males… and how the injustice enacted upon Ce Ce McDonald and many other transgender people of color, do not garner the same type of outrage.

I do not wish to simplify matters, but I am rather disappointed (but not surprised since we live in a transgender-hating USA) by the amount of hate and disgust against LGBTQ people of color from hetero-normative Black folk who are simultaneously enraged about Martin’s murder. I have been trying to think about how to write about this for weeks. If you are not familiar with my work, my research and activism have focused on food, healing, and structural oppression as experienced by Black vegetarians and vegans in the USA and; how the [invisible] violence of neoliberal whiteness has ‘colonized’ mainstream vegan rhetoric coming from organizations like PETA. Simultaneously, I am also interested in understanding how veganism is used to ‘decolonize’ the Black USA community from legacies of colonialism. However, I can’t tell you how disturbing it is to realize that a majority of Afrocentric vegan/raw foods rhetoric is ensconced in heterosexist/hetero-normative/trans-phobic logic. Yet simultaneously, the same ‘liberating’ and ‘decolonizing’ canon has an outpouring of sympathy and understanding for Black [cisgender-identified hetero-normative] folk who collectively suffer under systemic anti-black racism and white supremacy in the USA.

For example, even though I appreciate the work of Queen Afua’s Sacred Woman, as it did help me to cure my fibroid tumors, her entire book makes the assumption that all Black identified women and girls are cisgender identified and heterosexual; that the most ‘sacred’ romantic union that I as a Black female can be in is with a man of African descent. This also automatically implies that transgender, as well as lesbian and bisexual women of African descent cannot be part of a new future ‘healthy’ Black nation. Such an exclusive Black nation, in Sacred Woman, can be achieved through proper vegan food preparation to feed one’s family and self. Let me clear: Afua never directly says she hates people who are not straight or not hetero-normative gender conforming; but the absence of including transgender and non-straight women of African descent says something very profound about what bodies, sexualities, and genders are normalized and can be nutritionally ‘cleansed’ and ‘purified’ towards a moral or correct type of healthy Black nation (see Harper 2013). An Afrocentric guru who has been direct about his disgust with non-straight and non-gender conforming Black people is Dr. Llaila Afrika. His work has advocated that a properly planned holistic vegan or raw diet can “cure” queer Black folks. His rationale is that “gender-confused” and/or non-straight people of African descent have impure gender and sexual behaviors due to consuming the white colonizer’s industrialized and carnicentric diet (Afrika 1994; 1998). This logic is dangerous, unmindful, and unloving. But of course the Afrocentric canon of holistic health is not a singular anomaly in the mindset in the USA; it’s a microcosm that simply reflects the moral fabric of an entire mainstream USA that may have progressed a little better in terms of understanding how racism impacts Black [cisgender identified] people, but are still in the dark ages in understanding how violent it is to teach us that hetero-normative gender binaries are ‘common sense’, ‘natural’, and ‘pure.’ After all, PETA’s vegan anti-fur campaign from a few years ago delivered an anti-transgender message, “Wearing fur is a drag”,. The campaign depicted a picture of a drag queen wearing fur. Why are we supposed to want to throw blood on her? Are we supposed to be disgusted by a person wearing fur? Or are we [cisgender identified people] supposed to ‘naturally’ be disgusted by a person wearing fur who is transgender-identified?

I have organized a web conference for September 14, 2013. It is called “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women Vegans and Allies.” Many topics are covered. Not surprisingly, I could not find one person to submit a proposal about the anti-transgender and/or heterosexist rhetoric that undergirds the canon of mainstream veganism. I have extended the call for papers deadline to August 20, 2013. I don’t want to speak for a demographic of people that I am not (i.e. transgender identified), however, if I cannot find anyone to present on this dire matter, I will need to contextualize and speak about both Martin and Ce Ce McDonald’s tragedy: How do transphobic Afrocentric ‘food liberation’ rhetoric, as well as the realities of USA’s white supremacist value system, help to perpetuate the unjust outcome of McDonald and to leave her suffering as invisible and inconsequential to mainstream media? Why is her tragedy not garnering outrage for justice even by mainstream American sympathizers of injustice? Trayvon Martin should not distract us from thinking about racialized-sexualized-gendered, etc. forms of violence that take place on minorities within a minority (i.e. transgender people of color).  How can USA mainstream simultaneously acknowledge that racism not only affects the “ heterosexual Black cisgender identified males” but also sexual and gender minorities? How can we hold both Martin and McDonald in our hearts and consciousness and understand, as Dr. Grossman says,  “that the Unjust Murder of Trayvon Martin is a LGBT/Feminist/Human Rights Issue”?

 Works Cited

Afrika, Llaila O. 1998. African holistic health. Rev. 6th ed. Brooklyn, NY: A&B Publishers Group.

 Afrika, Llaila O. 1994. Nutricide : the nutritional destruction of the Black race. 1st ed. Beauford, SC: L.O. Afrika.

 Harper, Amie Louise. 2013. Vegan Consciousness and the Commodity Chain: On the Neoliberal, Afrocentric, and Decolonial Politics of ‘Cruelty-Free’. Dissertation, Geography, University of California, Davis, Davis.

On Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and [Un]Intimate Knowledge of Your Own Yoni

For this video I share my thoughts on the USA popular media obsession with which celebrity is having [hetero]sexual relations with which celebrity’s yoni and how in contrast, I find it strange that most people with yonis in the USA don’t want to have a holistic and intimate knowledge of their own reproductive health. Yoni is another word for vagina. 

The book I refer to in this video is call Sacred Woman by Queen Afua.

Scars that Normative Whiteness and Heterosexism Produce: Black Lesbian Experience and Rural Geographies of New England

So excited! My new book is ready for pre-order.  The novel focuses on 18 year old Savannah Sales, an African American closeted lesbian who is growing up in rural white New England. Through her character and the relationships she has with others, I explore: internalized racism, normatie whiteness, internalized homophobia, racialized-sexualized violence, connections that food/consumption has to ‘liberation’, and the search for self-love. Her best friend is vegan and encourages Savannah to rethink her sense of justice by pointing out Savannah’s carnicentric and pro-corporate-capitalist consumption habits. This novel is based on my personal experiences growing up in New England and my award winning Dartmouth College thesis research (1998) that focused on black feminism, queer theory, and rural geographies.http://www.amazon.com/SCARS-Breeze-Harper/dp/0985476958/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351228806&sr=1-1&keywords=%22breeze+harper%22 .

Black Coffee Press publishers took the project and I have a ‘real’ cover design for it and real editors…. it’s even going to be available on Kindle. Go me! The artwork was specially designed by the brilliant Sarah Dorsey whose art encapsulates pushing the boundaries when it comes to ‘mainstream’ ideas about gender and sexuality. Her art reminds me of  a fusion of bell hooks, Octavia Butler, and Donna Haraway on a canvas.

This novel good for all ages past 18, but in particular, 18-23 year olds. Could be great reading material for college courses focused on sexuality, rural geographies, queer theory, women and gender studies, and Black Studies. It is rare that I find novels exploring the ‘black experience’ that is not in an urban setting and not heteronormative. When I have read about the ‘black experience’ within a Northeast USA context, it always takes place in a city. Scars explores this in rural and white environment.

If you would like to pre-order this book, you can click on the image below or above. Kindle is not yet ready for pre-order, but it should be shortly.

Dic[k]tating how our vaginas should behave: On Akin and White Male Power Structure

Image of Marion Sims 

(Image source: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0b/James_Marion_Sims.jpg/220px-James_Marion_Sims.jpg))

As soon as I had heard what he had said, I felt my stomach tighten and nausea came several seconds later.

Disgusting.

“The female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.

Todd Akin’s words really hit me deep when he decided to become an “expert” on “legitimate rape” the other week. I know there have been tremendous responses against the ridiculous claims that Akin has made, but I wanted to offer what his words did to me; where it sent my mind.

Even though Akin apologized, I personally do not buy it. His initial “claim” about rape made me think about what men of his ilk have done, since European colonialism, to Black female bodies; to their reproductive gifts that were commoditized and sold on the auction block…and raped.

But back then, during an antebellum era of institutionalized chattel slavery, it wasn’t “legitimate rape” when the white slave-master raped Black female slaves (as well as ones that were “free”). As their “property” they could do whatever they wanted to them. The white male power structure literally created its own logical system that justified whose suffering counted, and whose suffering did not (Fett 2002). Constructed as 3/5’s of a human, we barely hit the radars of their compassion meter. As a matter of fact, through scientific racism and twisted interpretation of the Christian Bible, these men were able to convince themselves that not only were African people “enslavable”, our people had a “naturally” high tolerance for both physical and emotional pain. This included the pain of raping us; of selling our loved ones and tearing apart our families (Robert 1997; Washington 2006)

I began thinking about a piece that Petra Kuppers wrote about black women in the mid 19th-century. These women had been victims of experimentation by a man named Marion Sims. In Western medical schools Sims is taught as being the “father of gynecology” (Washington 2006). In Petra Kuppers’ piece about the Anarcha project, she talks about how this man experimented on many Black women slaves. He experimented on them to benefit white middle-class women who would use his gynecological services. What he did was really disgusting and very cruel. Sims was trying to solve the problem of fistula amongst white middle-class women clientele. A fistula is a condition in which there is a tear in the bladder that happens during a long labor sometimes, or the improper use of forceps during labor that tears the bladder. The consequence of this ailment is that women are constantly leaking urine.  Sims was using black women’s bodies to solve this “problem.” And he did this without anesthesia. One of the women that he did this on experienced this experimentation over 30 times. He cut up their vaginas and cut into their wombs without….I repeat, without anesthesia.

But Sims was the “expert”; whether he had an MD degree or not. By simply being a white male of that era, he could dic[k]tate “facts” about whose vaginas were worth experimenting on and whose vaginas were worth putting on a pedestal (“white ladies” of a privileged socio-economic class).

Sims represents an ontological perspective that would continue into today, that dic[k]tate such “facts” about certain female bodies as long as it suits their own possessive investments in what bell hooks refers to as white supremacist capitalist patriarchal system (hooks 1992). These “experts” on [black] female bodies chose to rape hundreds of black female slaves because it is not ‘legitimate rape.’ Within this twisted logic, the violent act must not have been ‘legitimate rape’ since tens of thousands of black female slaves gave birth to babies who were products of never-ending unnamed racial-sexual abuse. In the logic of Akin, had it been “legitimate”, than their bodies would have had a way of “shutting it down.” And what perfect logic to fit the needs of a white supremacist capitalist patriarchy that could only acquire capital and property through the labor of enslaved Africans and their continuation of “black” offspring.

Todd Akin, your comments did not surprise me. They disappointed me, but they did not surprise me. They fit perfectly within the socio-historical context of how white elite male power structure over the past 400 + years has viciously tried to control and restrict what particular females can and cannot do with their bodies.

Works Cited

Fett, Sharla M. Working Cures : Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Hooks, Bell. Black Looks : Race and Representation. Boston, MA: South End Press, 1992.

Roberts, Dorothy E. Killing the Black Body : Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty. 1st ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 1997.

Washington, Harriet A. Medical Apartheid : The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. 1st ed. New York: Doubleday, 2006.

Vegan Vagina, Libido, and Keeping it Moist: Creating a Happy Yoni

PhotoBreeze

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

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Yup, that’s right.

I said “vagina.”

Stop being squeemish. (LOL)

For real, though, let’s talk about vaginal health. Yea, it’s a broad topic, but I am going to focus on maintaining vaginal moisture through herbs and food.

They sell so much lube in the stores, I have always wondered if it is ‘normal’ that so many vaginas in the USA have problems with ‘dryness’. I mean, what did people do before AquaLube?

Throughout my life, I have talked to so many females adults, sexually active or not, who are having major problems with finding a way to be wet all the time. Many experience chaffing and have to use personal lubricant just to walk around comfortably.

So, here I am, Sistah Vegan, about to talk about some suggestions to kept that vegan vagina’s moisture in harmony. And yea, you can consider these suggestions even if you aren’t vegan. But I wanted to focus on vegan vaginas more because I have also spoken to a significant number of females who have transitioned into veganism and then make the observation that their libidos are non-existent and/or they are having problems with vaginal wetness. It’s not the vegan diet, it’s probably just the fact that you aren’t getting what you need in your diet.

  1. Dammit, drink at least 70 oz of water per day. And this is if you are NOT even pregnant or lactating. If you are lactating and or pregnant (or both), drink at least a gallon a day. The water can’t be some dead chlorinated liquid. Filtered water is healthier. Stop drinking anything and everything that makes your body acidic. Stop the sodas and coffee and try to purify through water and reproductive health balancing teas.
  2. What herbal teas? These: Red Clover (don’t take if you are pregnant), Nettles Leaf, Red Raspberry Leaf, Oatstraw. I personally don’t do all of these and prefer drinking 3-4 cups of Nettles leaf tea. Make sure you simmer your Nettles in boiling water for 3 minutes to neutralize the stinging component. 
  3. Want a method to achieve orgasm and healthy libido that isn’t tested on animals? Try Hypnosis Erotica. Seriously, this stuff works!!!!
  4. Slippery Elm. The name says it all. Slippery Elm is from the bark of a tree and can be made into a tea or a porridge. It is highly nutritious and has a plethora of medicinal uses. It is very hydrating and after taking it for a few days, you will notice that your vegan vagina will be oozing vaginal fluid.
  5. Okra. That’s right. That slimy stuff my dad used to make in boiling water is actually good for your vegan vagina. Queen Afua, a vegan raw foodist who promotes whole foods veganism to put your vagina back into harmony, recommends raw okra in her book Sacred Woman. In Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit
    She wants you to chop it up and mix it with flax seed oil and eat it…raw. That’s right. Don’t complain about the taste and stop with that look of horror on your face. LOL. If that is too much for you, try baking okra on low, lathered in olive oil for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Eat it several times a week. If you’re pregnant, it’s excellent to eat throughout the pregnancy. That nasty slimy sh*t that used to freak me out when my dad ate it is REALLY healthy. That slime gets in your system and helps ease labor because it makes your vaginal canal uber slimey to pass that big headed baby through.
  6. Chia Seeds. Only in USAmerica would a company take such a sacred seed and turn it into a freaking chia pet. Seriously, WTF!? Well, that Chia Pet is a distraction from that real purpose of chia seeds. Not only are these little seeds packed with tons of protein, calcium, and EFAs, they are amazing in restoring and maintaining the moisture in your body. This little black seeds hold up to 10 times their own volume in water. Soak your seeds, about 1-2 tbsp a day in 10-15 oz of water for 15 minutes before drinking the chia seed drink. People eat chia seeds without soaking or grinding the seeds. You need soak chia seed in water or you’ll destroy your tummy and feel like poop. I recommend actually soaking them over night, but if you’re too impatient for the you can soak them for about 15 minutes. I soak them over night and it helps be assimilate the nutrients in them much better.
  7. Okay, if you’re vegan you better be eating EFAs. Chia seeds are high in Omega 3-6-9. But you also need to be getting those good fats and DHA in your diet. Take a vegan source of DHA. I take 400 – 600 mg of Deva Algae based DHA each day (I’m nursing, that is why. You probably just need 200-400 if you aren’t nursing or aren’t preggers). I eat 1 avocado a day as well and about 1/4 c of hemp seeds.
  8. By far, I think Maca Root  has had a profound effect on me. I have spoken about it many times in the past. It’s great to balance the hormones in a way that makes your libido healthy. A lot of women experience low libido for many reasons, but one of these major reasons is that the hormonal system is not in balance. This could be because of postpartum issues or you could be entering menopause. I recommend Maca Root Powder. And not just any one, but the one offered that is organic by Sol Raiz Organics. There’s is a special heirloom variety called Lepidium Peruvianum Chacon and I really feel the difference in comparison to the standard ones they sell in the store. Not all Maca is the same and most people are buying low quality varieties that don’t have the same effects as the Chacon one.
  9. Exercise! At least 20-30 minutes a day.
  10. Spicy food. Come on, I can’t be the only one who wants to get ‘freaky’, once I overdose on spicy Indian or Pakistani food. Fresh ginger, cayenne, and turmeric increase libido and vaginal wetness. Garlic too, but it’s really quite ‘fragrant’ and it’s hard to get your freak on with your girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse if you smell like a garlic pizza. But, if that turns your lover on, go for it!
  11. Sleep and relaxation. Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  12. Want a method to achieve orgasm and healthy libido that isn’t tested on animals? Try Hypnosis Erotica. Seriously, this stuff works!

I have to say that of the 10, the top 4 that I really suggest are the Hypnosis Erotica, Slippery Elm, drinking a lot of healthy water, and the Maca Root.

If you want to learn more about sexual health and increasing your vagina’s happiness as a vegan wombman, I recommend reading the chapter in the Sistah Vegan book by Angelique Shofar, who beautifully tells you the vegan foods to eat to make a happy yoni. The chapter is called “The Food and Sex Link.” You can buy a copy here: Sistah Vegan: Food, Identity, Health, and Society: Black Female Vegans Speak . Other sexuality related blog pieces that you may enjoy can be found here, where I talk about my new social fiction novel that comes out this summer and explores the sexuality of a young Black teenage girl, struggling with living in rural White New England.

If you enjoyed learning about your/the yoni, or other work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. My non-profit will offer webinars and literature about reproductive health that are holistic and plant-based. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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Disclaimer: Please consult your practitioner before trying anything on this suggestion list.

Sistah vegan on Maca, gettin’ your vegan libido on, and finishing her PhD

 

In this video I talk about Sol Raiz organice Maca powder that I have been taking to create healthy libido, postpartum, and grow my hair back. I also update people on how I’m trying to handle “nursing on demand” and the challenges of being the primary caretaker of 2 children under the age of 3, while living in a nation in which there isn’t much structural and institutional support to help mothers (or the primary caretakers of pre-school age children which usually do end up being females).

The brand of Maca I by is by Sol Raiz:
solraizorganics.com/

 

Video available:: Afrocentrism, vegan methodology of the racially oppressed, and revolutionary black feminism

Last night I spoke at UC Berkeley, and explained the Afrocentric approach to veganism that is race-gender conscious, decolonial, and revolutionary black feminist. I did this because I wanted to explain that there are more than just Eurocentric philosophical ‘ethics’ behind why some people choose veganism. By Eurocentrism, I mean the philosophical canon of ‘ethics and animals’ that dominate the mainstream academic literature in the USA. While Eurocentric philosophy focuses on the ‘ethics’ of non-human animal consumption and non-human animal exploitation, Afrocentric veganism (through Queen Afua) focuses on how veganism becomes a decolonial tool against the unethical abduction and enslavement of Africans and the institutional of chattel slavery; an unethical institution that took away their original plant-centered dietary philosophy and “forcing” them to eat a carnicentric diet. This is what a vegan methodology of the racially oppressed can look like! Video of talk and Q&A :

Part II

If you comment in a way that is obvious you didn’t watch the video, but are “annoyed” that I am looking at race, whiteness, and decolonial theories as a way to understand vegan consciousness, I will not post your comments. For me, it simply doesn’t make sense to receive passive aggressive comments from people who don’t know anything about my work, haven’t watched the video, but then feel like they are “experts” on the subject matter and then wish to “educate” me about my “incorrect”  4+ years of dissertation research and 35 years of racialized-gendered bodily experience as a black female in the USA.  If it’s not enough that I have been “educated”  at Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and now University of California, learned how to engage in qualitative research, and document ongoing themes in vegan cultural practices (themes that are influenced by race, class, gender, whiteness, neoliberalism), then what more can I offer? (I’m being funny with educated in quotations, because of the mainstream assumption that if you just “educate” non-white folk through the “proper” Western university educational system, they will “assimilate” and agree with the perceptions of the white middle class status quo. But if they don’t, they must simply be ‘irrational’ and ‘angry’, and must be “educated more”)


Challenging Our Race, Cisgender, etc. Privileges: Vegan Activism Beyond a Single Issue

Would you Harbor Me? Vegan Activism Beyond a Single Issue, Building Coalitions, and Challenging our Race, Gender, etc., Privileges.

In this video blog cast, I speak about building coalitions, reflecting on how lack of awareness around one’s identity/positionality privileges could actually be fostering suffering, and how to confront the discomfort around “uncomfortable” transformative challenges one may face as not just a vegan activist, but human being attempting to do social justice work.




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