Month: April 2014

The People’s Definition of Beauty

“The Dark “Natural” Black woman has long been a fetish, even, I’m sad to say, to our own race. She’s the one who “dares” to exist as she was born in a world that encourages her to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards, and therefore, from the get go, she is viewed as a hostile/stubborn/strong individual; someone to be forced into submission through self-hatred. She is reminded of her colour, her ethnicity, every time someone mentions it and makes it seem like a handicap.

I find it interesting to note though, that people who measure beauty by aforementioned Eurocentric standards, people who look to Pop Culture to inform them what’s hot or not, still refuse to embrace Lupita as an icon. I find myself wondering whether it’s to do with the fact that embracing her beauty would have to mean actually facing the fact that through the mainstream media we have been told and shown that we’re not considered desirable, something many deny, or whether the self-hatred runs so deep that women who look like her will not be deemed worthy to such people, no matter who says so.

Many dismiss her as “average”. “I can find a woman who looks like her just walking to the store,” they say, insinuating that the average woman to them isn’t in the least bit attractive or worthy of attention, no less admiration. To understand why Lupita is not a Goddess to many, why her triumphs are insignificant, we will need to understand that the bar has been contorted to fit only a specific mould and her acceptance will see her not only altering it, but possibly maiming it and proving it redundant and unrealistic. And during this process she will obviously face resistance, as we’re currently bearing witness to.”

 

My first piece for C Hub Magazine. Read more here.

This Chastity Belt Makes My Ass Feel Good

I used to be one of those people who felt that sex was as much of a necessity as wine for one’s mental well-being and overall joy, and if you know me you’ll know, I’m a firm believer in wine’s healing powers. Nights where one found both wine and sex were divine, if only for two hours, before you began to miss your own bed and got tired of the stench of whiskey coming from the body next to you and if you’re really unlucky, the repeated “I swear this never happens, I’m just tired,” from said body. I recall having a conversation with a friend and me pointing out that I hadn’t had sex that week and I wasn’t sure how I was functioning. [It was a Tuesday, that day, mind you.]

I don’t think myself a nymphomaniac, not even close, I just had a certain love for the act that made me want to indulge, often. Whether out of boredom, desire or a suppressed feeling of necessity. I was a younger, sexier version of Dr Eve, if I do say so myself, and I oozed sensuality.

A little sexpot, if you will.

lola-bunny

When I saw someone I liked

Something absolutely wondrous happened then though: I got too busy, too distracted, to maintain a sex life. Please note that as I type this there’s a certain level of horror I would like to get across. I’ll need you to clutch your pearls and throw your hands up in disbelief. Think Marilyn Monroe turning into Hilary Clinton.

For the first few weeks I simply forgot to desire sexual gratification from another human being. Honestly, when I got down to crunching numbers, the effort time and effort it would take to set up liaisons, prepare and travel just didn’t seem worth it. Now here you might say “Well, honey, maybe you jut didn’t have anything worth travelling to,” and I can’t dispute that, really. That’s a possibility.

Or “Well, maybe you’re just lazy now,” and that too, might ring true. I might know why and simply refuse to dig it out of my subconscious.

I can tell you this however; Too much bad sex will make you too lazy to seek out sex, period.

Bottom line, a fortnight turned into a month and that turned into way longer than I would have been able to accept could be true, a while ago. I became [voluntarily?] celibate.

The most shocking bit being: I was okay with that.

My sex drive simply went away. She started visiting less and less and one day, just stopped cumming at all, and I was fine with that.

baby-playng-lola-bunny-with-bugs-graphics-code-42595

 

She came and left

It’s weird when you thought you based most of your character on your sex[ual] experiences/life, or when you’ve been told that, and one day you’re simply okay with not getting any.  I went from thinking sex was like water to considering it flavored water that comes in a 1.5l bottle, I mean, I can get it if I wanna but I don’t need it. And on I went, uninvolved, unfucked and uninterested.

 

Yesterday I felt good. I had on a long, beautiful red dress and an equally bright outlook on things.  A girl I encountered asked me why I was happy “You’re like.. glowing, dude,” she said and when I told her I was simply happy, for no reason, she said “You’re lying, you got some.”

Two things irritated me about that statement.

1. I’ve never been known to lie about sex, because I don’t.

2. Why would she think one could only be ecstatic when one is sexually satisfied?

Of course I then informed her that I in actual fact haven’t been touched by another in ages and simply have no desire for the act and her response again ticked me off: “What? Oh man, what a shame!” See, here, I desperately wanted to address the fact that I felt she might have been bothered because I used to have an “overly familiar” relationship with her ex which might have interfered with their relationship but I tried to avoid the issue. No use starting something you don’t want to be a part of. 

Being on the receiving end, however, of comments I later realized I’ve made countless times over the past couple of years made me realize what an annoying twat I must have sounded like. While I marveled at the insurmountable number or times I’ve sounded like a douche I said the words I never would have dreamed I would: “On the contrary, it’s actually quite comfortable. Once you realize that sex really isn’t as huge a deal to you as it once was, you act accordingly and adjust your lifestyle to it. It’s simply not a necessity to me and there’s nothing sad about that. What would be sad would be for me to keep fucking if I didn’t want to.”

 

I’ve been thinking it over.  There’s no fun in doing what you don’t want to do. There’s no joy in forced interactions. Whether it be because you simply feel overworked, insecure or simply uninterested, if you don’t want to, you don’t.  And as much as we live in a society fixated on one’s appeal and ability to turn somebody else on and satisfy them, it’s nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t want to do it.

Sometimes you have better things to do than fuck.

Sometimes you simply don’t want to. And that’s perfectly alright.

 

It’s not about them, it’s about you. Always. 

African Time: Late To Recognizing Our Greatness

“Here’s the thing, nobody wants to face the fact that we focus on everything BUT what we need to focus on.  For a long time Africa has been seen through everybody else’s eyes but our own, such that now, we find ourselves at a point where those who tell our truth, and are of our Land, are either revered or shunned.   Case in point, Chimamanda Adichie.  As celebrated as she may be worldwide now due to the spotlight being shown on her after her feature on Beyonce, a lot of the people back home view her as a stubborn woman, a sell out, one who doesn’t know her place and basically, a problem.

We need to see ourselves as we are in order to start going where we should be.

Let’s be honest with ourselves.

Africa has a long history of feeling like the ugly step sister.  Whether due to our spirit of Ubuntu that saw us sharing ourselves with those who had unsavory intentions or the aftermath of aforementioned intentions being carried out being the root cause of it, we’ve come to believe we’re weak and insignificant. We seem to be worthless to only ourselves, however, with the entire Western and Eastern world clamoring to get SOMETHING out of us, you’d think by now, we’d realize our worth.

Africa is like the pretty girl with the abusive boyfriend she keeps around because she knows no better and he says she’s worthless.  She believes everything she’s told, and disregards what she herself sees; That she is worthy, capable and deserving.”

Something I wrote for AHHB.

Shinka: How Anime’s Helping Along Evolution

The anime world is one that provides solace, entertainment, and enjoyment to millions of people around the globe.  To many, it’s a weird subculture that reveals just how committed humans can be to fictional realms and characters. What they tend to overlook however, is that like literature, sitcoms, movies, etc., it provides yet another escape from reality, if only for half an hour (the average length of most anime episodes). You get to see just about anything in anime (and hentai: anime porn), and as a person that has seen about 400 anime series/movies (I know, my life is awesome), I much prefer it to the largely depressing, discriminatory, and all around unsavory reality that we live in.

 

Shinka 1

 

Now I could go on about how amazing anime is, and how everyone on Earth should watch it, but a particular notion about anime viewers was drawn to my attention: we are hardly ever sexist, homophobic, trans-phobic, or really discriminatory at all. I say this based upon the members of the anime community that I interact with, and while I have interacted with quite a lot, I can hardly speak for every anime watcher out there. What I will say is that if you do watch heavy amounts of anime, your chances of remaining averse to people that society loves to deem “abnormal” is going to be drastically reduced.

 

Why?

 

The first word that comes to mind is ‘androgyny’. The Japanese, and by extension, anime, is very androgynous in not just their dressing, but their character aesthetic design as well, and the behaviors of said characters.

 

 Shinka 2

This is Haku. He’s a guy. He’s hot. Admit it. 

 

We become attracted to the characters we admire on television, and anime is no different in that regard. I remember the first time I saw some of my friends drooling over anime girls, I was so confused. Like, the fuck? Next thing I know I find myself in love with Haruko Haruhara from Fooly Cooly. It just kind of hits you. But I digress.

 

It’s immensely difficult to maintain sexist views when you find yourself drawn to males/females that you initially thought were the opposite gender. You start subconsciously breaking down those barriers you had put up against them. If you find yourself attracted to an anime guy that you thought looked like a girl, you’re really just one step away from being attracted to males in real life that have the same attributes. Can you really be homophobic then?

Shinka

 

What’s even more fascinating is how these characters behave. Gender roles still exist in anime, but to a far lesser degree than in other forms of entertainment. Men cook, women are frequently breadwinners (it’s REALLY interesting to note that fatherless homes are a lot more frequent in anime than motherless ones, but that’s another discussion entirely), male friends are very openly comfortable with each other… it’s really ideal. So when you watch a lot of this happen, one has to wonder why on earth we so strictly adhere to those roles in reality, when they seem so easily negligible in anime.

 

Women are stronger than men.

 

Shinka 3

 

Scenario: You’re a sixteen year old boy, living a boring life, and nothing exciting ever happens in your town

 

PLOT TWIST: a magical girl bursts through your ceiling, fighting a creature from a different dimension which she obliterates with ease, and you fall in love at first sight with this super strong girl that’s going to change your life forever and make you her bitch.

 

I just described the introductions of probably hundreds of different anime.

 

To be fair, I’m not entirely sure that the roots of female power in anime are righteously rooted. It seems to be more of a fetishizing of the powerful girl, but it’s one that has worked out positively, in my opinion. If you’re an archaic misogynist you do not have a place in anime. Female characters are just as, if not more, popular than their male counterparts. We fucking love them. They wreck shit. They make men do dumb shit for them. They become student council presidents and take control of their entire school (I’m looking at you, Kill la Kill). There is just such an overwhelming amount of anime focusing on female empowerment, from the magical girl variants to the bad ass action ones that you’re just better off learning to love them as much as you should.

 

Cross Dressing/Futanari

 

There is a ton of anime content centralizing around cross dressing and transgender characters. Unfortunately, the latter is still purely restricted to hentai, which leads me to believe there is a large amount of aforementioned fetishizing involved, but I do hope it turns out useful in destroying the very negative stigmas usually associated with trans people. I’m waiting for an anime to actually feature an openly transgender main character, so I can advertise the hell out of it.

 

Cross dressing, however, has been very frequent in anime for many years now. As if the androgynous dressing wasn’t enough already, many anime feature plots where a man/woman is in a scenario where they are either forced to dress as the opposing gender, or they simply enjoy doing so. Now in these anime the initial reaction is always one of disgust, which mirrors society quite aptly. But the beautiful thing is, that these anime use their plot devices to make the cross dresser just as accepted as any other member of the anime.

 

 Shinka 4

Ranma 1/2, one of the most popular comedy/action anime ever released, features a protagonist that changes between a male and a female.

The majority of these anime take place in school settings, where, say, a boy/girl “accidentally” gets into an all-boys/girls school, and is ergo forced to dress as a boy/girl to not get caught (it wouldn’t be anime if they did the sensible thing and just transferred schools, now would it?) They almost always play out the same way: guy/girl starts cross dressing, and is exposed to the various stigmas members of that gender face, which changes their opinion of said gender, and they slowly start enjoying the cross dressing. The climax occurs when the class/school find out about the cross dresser, and they are usually subjected to initial bullying. In the resolution though, the classmates/school members eventually realize they were all changed by the cross dresser(s), and accept that they are just as normal as anyone else.

 

I think that the effect that anime has on breaking down these discriminatory notions is much needed. The messages conveyed of acceptable differential norms are ones that needs to be widespread in our world, in our cultures, and become rooted in our humanity. We cannot continue being so wary of change and difference, and continue to subject the people that are different to negative labels.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, go watch some anime and become a better person.

 

-Charles

 

**Charles says “Coming up with bios is difficult” so there’s that.

Find him on Twitter or read his work here.