Shailene Woodley and When Feminism Became the “F Word”

What does a feminist look like?
This bitch.
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And I say that word with power and respect, as I have learned over the course of my life, that in key moments, when I have taken charge or stood up for myself, it has occasionally been what I’ve been called.

Do you know what I mean?

This week, actress Shailene Woodley made news because when Time Magazine asked if she was a feminist she replied,

“No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance.”

Right after reading that article, the next thing on my feed was a news clip generated by TMZ about Madonna:

Madonna’s not ACTUALLY a slutty attention whore who planned to expose her nipples at the fanciest event in the world — literally dressed like Leeloo from “The Fifth Element” — at least that’s what she’s saying now … claiming the photo she posted online Monday was a joke.

Our sources say Madonna didn’t even have plans to go to the Gala … she was in the studio Monday night during the event and will stay there all week.

This just in: Madonna is 55 years old.

Below that, was an article about the noted fashion designer, L’Wren Scott and her memorial service in New York City.

You might remember that when L’Wren committed suicide in May, the New York Times’ original headline read:

“Mick Jagger’s Girlfriend Found Dead, Official Says”

Her name wasn’t in the headline in her own death notice.

And in that moment,
I sat back,
looked at the three news stories side by side
and knew I had to write this blog.

Feminism is not about hating men.
Feminism is not about trying to push men down and gain power.
Feminism is simply about wanting to have gender equality.

Feminism is wishing that one of the most successful and smart female entertainers of the last 100 years isn’t called a “whore” and “slutty” over an artistic photo of herself that she put her OWN censorship bar on.

Feminism is wanting her to be hailed just like Zac Efron was when he accepted his MTV Movie Award last week – as he was shirtless, half naked and PROUD.

Feminism is wanting a noted designer to be called by her name in the headlines of her death, rather than be just referred to as “Mick Jagger’s Girlfriend”.

Feminism is wanting to be recognized as a fellow human being
who is not an accessory to another human being
who is not to be de-valued or shamed when we express ourselves in the same way as men do,
who want equal pay and equal respect in jobs that we do and creative endeavors that we put out to the world.
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When I was in 4th grade, we were studying civil rights,
and in one photo there was a few women with picket signs standing alongside men.
“Feminists!” 9-year-old Tony Blanoff hissed
and a bunch of other kids laughed.

It was the F word.
According to the other kids at school,
Feminists were angry, ugly women who hated men and yelled all the time and wore Birkenstocks.
They were bitter, old and uncool.
They wanted to yell all the time and cause all this noise and couldn’t just relax and live alongside men.
They just needed to get laid.

This is what I heard when I was 9 from the other kids in school.

What was your first definition of the word “Feminism” from what you heard from others?

When I was an early teen, the Riot Grrl Movement hit my world through music.
They talked about equal rights and “revolution girl style now”.

I remember the moment of reading the Riot Grrl Manifesto and understanding exactly what Kathleen Hanna was talking about.
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Here’s a short excerpt:

BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t.

BECAUSE we are unwilling to falter under claims that we are reactionary “reverse sexists” AND NOT THE TRUEPUNKROCKSOULCRUSADERS THAT WE KNOW we really are.

BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-heirarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.

BECAUSE doing/reading/seeing/hearing cool things that validate and challenge us can help us gain the strength and sense of community that we need in order to figure out how bullshit like racism, able-bodieism, ageism, speciesism, classism, thinism, sexism, anti-semitism and heterosexism figures in our own lives.

BECAUSE we see fostering and supporting girl scenes and girl artists of all kinds as integral to this process.

BECAUSE we are angry at a society that tells us Girl = Dumb, Girl = Bad, Girl = Weak.

I read those words and agreed with them.
Then I knew that being a feminist was agreeing with those principles.
I knew that I was one.

And because other people, both men and women, have fought for this equality to happen.

And yet, articles like the ones above:
♦  Actress Shailene Woodley denouncing feminism,
♦  Madonna being called “slutty” and a “whore” in sentence number 1 of an article and being cast off as “55 years old” in the last sentence.
♦  L’Wren Scott dies and is referred to as only “Mick Jagger’s Girlfriend” in the headline of a reputable newspaper, The New York Times.

….these things tell me that something needs to be said
something needs to be done
and I have this blog
and I cannot be silent.

I don’t want little girls to read these articles and feel bad about themselves and feel less than boys.

I don’t want little boys to read these articles and think that this is the way to treat girls.

In the final sentence of the Riot Grrl Manifesto, Kathleen Hanna says,

BECAUSE I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real.

To do this, we need ALL of us, Men and Women, to stand up and say something and not let it be okay when we see articles like the above mentioned happen, we need to stand up together and inspire each other.

Fuck the media that puts out these misogynistic articles.
We can choose to create what we want with the power of the internet.
This article you are reading right now can be shared and reach the right people out there.
We all have a voice on the internet now.
The playing field is leveled.
And I will not sit back down.

Stand up with me.

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Video Post: How to Make Your Own Terrarium in 5 Easy Steps!

Because you’re punk rock
and you have better things to do with your time
then water some plants.
I made my first “How To” vlog for YOU.

Go make one, then roll in the gutter for me.
And if you want other fun ideas, check out my 5 design ideas for under $15.

What future “How To” videos do you want from me?
I’m taking requests, Danger Addicts….

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5 Design Ideas Under $15 to Make Your Space Kickass

One time I threw everything away.

Everything.

Emilie came to stay with me and my Living Room consisted of a purple rug.

We had a picnic on it.

And I slowly started adding things that were me.

Here’s the 5 design additions I love at my place, all under $15…
that I know you’ll love, too!

Vintage Books on Walls or Displayed

Peek into my little Garden Kitchen:
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That green beauty is from 1923 and I got it for $1 on the street.

Looking at someone’s bookshelf is almost like seeing them naked.

When I go to a new friend’s place, I always scan the bookshelves. Books tell me in about five minutes – who my friends really are and what they are into!
What are YOU into? Time to create!

Simply hit Etsy or Ebay or your local garage sales and thrift stores to score titles that reflect you or the theme of the room you’re creating.

Hand Mirrors and Other Vintage Mirrors

Step into my Tarot Reading Parlour
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Mirrors reflect light and expand the look of your space.

The look of my apartment completely changed with a few well-placed mirrors.

Rock Out Some Mood Lighting

One of my favorites that I’ve mentioned before are my battery operated candles on timers scattered all throughout the house. Every night, they turn on as the sun goes down
and I greet the night with flickering candles in every room!

I get mine from Target’s Threshold collection. They are real wax, but are molded so perfectly, they look a little fake.
That’s when I take a hot hairdryer to the tops of them and mold them with my hands so they end up looking like this:
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Plants

I am obsessed with plants.
They bring in life, oxygen, and beautiful color to a room.
I’m writing this post in my sunny kitchen garden right now and having these beautiful friends around me each morning when I do my posts, brings some sunshine into my day.

My little writing garden:
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Got a black thumb? No problem!
Terrariums, Echeverias, Geraniums and Jade Plants line my kitchen. They need little water and are pretty death defying. Here’s a great list from Decor8 for 22 Hard to Kill Houseplants.

Found Frames and Magazine/Book Photos

Here’s a peek at my “burlesque dressing room bathroom”:
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I’m always seeing old frames in the street and in second hand stores. Pick up some of those and cut out your favorite photos from magazines or books to put in.

The above photo is from a burlesque book my friend Dicie gave to me. I carefully cut out this stunning photo of Sherry Britton, taped it on to cardboard and put it in the back of this frame with duct tape.
My frankenstein DIY skills are hidden safely against the wall and what you can see is awesome!

What are little things that you’ve done to make your space awesome?
Add a photo if you can in the comments.
I brought you over to my place, now I wanna see yours!
PS I’m at your front door. Let’s have lattes.

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Your Inner Rockstar – How To Be Your Most Badass Self

This morning,
sitting on in my little kitchen garden in NYC,
I pulled a card for you and for this post:

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The Magician came up.

The message I’m supposed to give you is:

You have EVERYTHING you need in front of you.

♥  Wanna channel that inner rock star version of you?
♥  Wanna draw in that swagger and confidence to do anything?
♥  Wanna get an idea of who you are and where you want to go and grab life by the reigns?

How can you achieve superhero status?

It’s easy….
You can’t.
None of us can.
Superheroes are myths.
Our inner rockstars are in for a wild and real life ride – happily rolling in the gutters one day with their friends and hurling a television out of the window the next.
You ever seen a Behind the Music and all the stuff they talk about?
Sure there’s “superhero” moments, but in the end, we are all on the same roller coaster together.

This shit is real.
And it’s not perfect, it ain’t always pretty –
but we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

How do we channel that inner rock star more in life?

Things You Need to Know:

  No One’s Got It Figured Out.

No one.
At 16, I had my absolute rock star and riot grrl heroes that I believed had “figured it all out”.
I felt like this loser that had no idea what I was doing.
I believed that I could never be them or get to where they were in life because I had too much doubt and fear.

Well – come to find out in interviews later on – they were struggling with the same doubts and fears I was. Reading about their honest feelings made me respect them more as people AND made me see that we all deal with the same insecurities in life.
We are all in the same boat.

Don’t let fear silence you.

Fuck Intimidation. Get Down With Some Inspiration.

One of my favorite moments at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction this year was from David Grohl who said:

“Don’t look at the poster on your wall and think ‘I could never do that.’ Look at the poster on your wall and think ‘I’m gonna fucking do that!'” You look up to your heroes and you shouldn’t be intimidated by them, you should be inspired by them.”

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Bikini Kill – one of my biggest inspirations.

All Great Things Start Small

Our own wild expectations of who we are and what we would should be doing can be terrifying. Let’s stop setting ourselves up to fail. Give yourself a realistic simple goals.

How simple is this: What is one small thing you can do towards your goal today?

Rock an Original….Your OWN Badass Self.

Don’t get caught up in the trap of comparing yourself to others. We all have our own “Choose Your Own Adventure” life story going on.

The best way to channel your inner rockstar is to do it YOUR way. Crank up your own version of you and watch the things start to feel better.

Judy Garland once famously said: “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”

What are your best traits, the things you like about yourself, the things that make you – you?

What are the things you’d mention if you had to brag a little?

Now imagine who you’d be if you boosted those traits just a little more.   Just a little.  I’m not talking about imagining some completely different version of you, some impossible fantasy. Just see who you could be with a little extra boost of the best parts of you.

Stage Dive Into The Things You Love

Photo Credit:  Soul Catcher Studio

Photo Credit: Soul Catcher Studio

What are your favorite things to do? Remember the “What’s in your blood?” question from three weeks ago…? Well how do you apply that to your regular life?

How often do you do this thing?

Can you make steps to do this thing more and more?

Challenge Yourself: If you’re recording a song once every 6 months, can you challenge yourself to do 3 songs in 6 months?

This blog you’re reading right now came from a challenge to myself to write regularly for 7 months – and that was almost a year and a half ago! I love it, so I made it part of my life.

Keep building on the things you love.

Fuck Giving Up

Yep. If you love it and you want it – Do. Not. Give. Up.

Dreams don’t die.
They may go to sleep for awhile, they might take way longer than you want them to. But they don’t die, unless you say they do.

Trust me on this one. My dream of creating the movie Revolver started 10 long years ago. There were things I didn’t know how to do and things I got scared of. I stopped moving forward at times because everything seemed “too overwhelming”. Finally we decided to hurl ourselves back into this dream and with your help, we were able to get the funds to shoot this year!

Don’t ever give up.
As long as you are alive – your possibilities are endless.

Share the answers to these questions in the comments. Let’s cheer wildly for each other as we stage dive.

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Dare To Do Something New: 21 Ways to Make Yourself Uncomfortable

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When Jeff Stark asked me to do it,
I felt a little nervous and even more uncomfortable.
I said yes.
And last Saturday night, I played my own original song on guitar and sang for a gathering of 40 artists.
For the first time.

Let’s think about this.
When you look back on your life…think of the most important things you’ve done,
the pivotal choices you’ve made,
the events that helped you grow the most
and helped define who you are
will almost always be times when you tried something new,
dared to do something you weren’t good at, or didn’t fully understand.

Those moments are wildly uncomfortable for me.
My heart is beating a million miles a minute
and I want to run.
But I stay.
Because that’s what happens when a person grows, learns and really fucking lives this life.

Moments away from going on stage - me and my wild burlesque family.

Moments away from going on stage – me and my wild burlesque family.

I dare you to play with me.
Pick one of the things below or add your own in the comments, you can also accept others’ challenges in the comments.
Take a photo, video or write about your experience by next Thursday…
Report back in the comments.
Hashtag it to me on twitter as #dangerdiarydare
and I’ll do something daring, too.

Ready?

Here are my uncomfortable things no one should miss out on….

  1. Start A Blog and Write Your Uncensored, Honest Views.
  2. Take Yourself Out To Dinner Alone.
  3. Stand Up For Something You Believe In Even When You Might Risk Disapproval.
  4. Go and See Live Music in a Genre You Don’t Normally Listen To.
  5. Introduce Yourself To Someone You Would Like To Know But Have Felt Too Intimated By.
  6. Learn a New Language.
  7. Travel To The Country Where They Speak That Language and Try It With Locals.
  8. Dress Opposite For Your Comfort Level.
  9. Write a Heartfelt Poem and Share It With Someone.
  10. Volunteer To Help Someone Who Is Very Different From You.
  11. Give a Compliment to a Complete Stranger.
  12. Go on a Polar Bear Swim (Jump In a Cold Lake).
  13. Make a “Free Hugs” Sign, Go Out In a Public Place With Your Friends and GO FOR IT.
  14. Order a Strange New Dish at a Restaurant.
  15. Explore an Abandoned Building or Area That’s Unfamiliar To You.
  16. Go on a Road Trip Without A Destination.
  17. Get Naked In Front of an Audience (whether that’s Burlesque or Telling a Personal Story or Sharing Personal Art that You Created).
  18. Learn a New Skill (Take a Dance Class, Learn a New Musical Instrument).
  19. Initiate a Conversation With Someone Far Younger or Much Older Than You.
  20. Figure Out Something You Really Want to Do That You Feel Timid About Doing.
  21. What are Some Things That You Have Heard Your Friends or Acquaintances Talk About and You Think – I’d Never Have The Guts To Do That….But It Would Be Awesome.

Share with friends. Let’s do this together.

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Confession: My House Burned to the Ground 3 Years Ago – Here’s 3 Tips To Get Through Hard Times

Our Enchanted Cottage on our Wedding Day:
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Our Cottage 3 years ago today:
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My soul felt like the above picture for months.
I was just as destroyed on the inside
as my home was.

Here are 3 things which had to happen for us to make it through.
And they might help you when you’re going through hard times:

1.  A Clean Slate.

In any situation, a break-up, the loss of a job or friendship, and especially in the loss of our home – it’s hard to move on while staring at the remains of what used to be.

You can’t move forward if you’re only looking behind you.

When something bad has happened, allow yourself to mourn for a little while, but give yourself a deadline day to make a clean slate and to start over again.

Real Life Story: For two months after the fire, our house was a pile of black ash with one mint green wall standing.
Every day, I would drive there and sit in the burned frame of my bed and look out of the window that remained….looking out that same window I had looked out of for years of my life.
Then it was the same thing, over and over, I would dig and dig in the rubble trying to find anything.
I was half crazy.

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Burke took this photo of me in our wedding bed the last day our house stood. I was crying and pulled the veil over my face. I didn’t want to let our beloved house go. Only a handful of people have ever seen this photo. It was just too personal for me to share until now.

The day the bulldozer came to level what remained,
I felt like I was going to die.
My life was 7 dumpsters of wreckage
to be carted away.
Ashes of childhood stuffed animals,
my Grandma’s jewelry and magic things,
years of personal journals and books.

But the next day I came back.
The ash and charred rubble was gone.
There was new earth, an open field, a clean slate.
I could finally see more than burned remains,
I could see more than what was,
I could see the potential for what could be,
and I felt like there was a glimmer of hope on that land for the first time since the fire.

There is no place for a bright future when you are standing knee deep in the ashes of your past.

2.  Get Active In Your Future.

Focus on new and good things. Rather than waiting, make your future.
Take action.
What do you want to do now?
Who do you want to be?
See a bright future and head towards it – one step at a time.

Real Life Story: Burke dealt with the loss of the house by buying a can of PlayDoh and sculpting his ideas for what the new home could be. He was just as destroyed as I was over the fire. He was afraid if he sunk too deep in the darkness and ashes, he wouldn’t be able to climb out, like quicksand. He knew he had to keep moving.

As he formed a new home in PlayDoh, it occupied his mind, charged his creativity and kept him afloat.
Burke’s PlayDoh House that he molded right after the fire:

Burke's playdoh house.

The Finished House:
Picture 70

3. Get Out There in the World.

Immerse yourself in the world, find positive people, and interact.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Don’t just invite a friend over to mourn what has passed.
Force yourself to hang out with people – go dancing, go to a party, go OUT, take class, volunteer – even when you don’t feel like it. Chances are, once you get there, you’ll be grateful you did. Being around others, listening to others, sharing common interests, and discovering new things will help get your mind off past sadness.

Real Life Story: A handful of days after our house burned to the ground there was a big celebration for dear friends of ours. We didn’t want to let them down by not showing up, and at the same time, we didn’t want to bring the party down by being there. It wasn’t easy, but we went. The first few minutes were the hardest – I wanted to run away. But after a moment, seeing good friends and being surrounded by a positive social environment helped me so much. The day was a positive distraction from my sadness and the good effects of the day were lasting.

Here’s a picture of us at that event – sticking together and finding hope in each other and our friends.
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I will never forget how much you all of you on this online community did for us. Your support, letters and love kept us going more than you’ll ever know.

If you’re going through a hard time out there – remember you’re not alone and there is hope.
Don’t give up.
Better days will be headed your way.
Trust me on this one.
I’ve been down many a crooked road and I know this to be true.

Today at 5:45pm, Burke and I will be holding hands on the rock in our backyard, just like we do every year to send good thoughts back to our old selves in 2011 who were dealing with a really hard time.

Here’s the post where I talk about the special ritual we do every year since the fire.
I put my heart into writing it and I know it can help you, too.

Sending out my love to all of you –
and if you know someone that might need this today,
please share.

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Some Girls Wander By Mistake (or What the Eff Am I Doing?)

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Sometimes I’ve woken up in a panic,
thinking that I have no idea what I’m doing,
wondering what my next steps are,
confused as to where life might be taking me.

And those mornings, as hard as it may be,
I realize that I have to push everyday life out of the driver’s seat
and hijack the wheel.

If you’re sick of life pushing you around
and you want to take control –
let’s do this.

This post is part three in my series – I was Slowly Killing Myself Before I Figured Out These 4 Things with questions to help you on your own wild life adventure.

This week we ask: Why are We Here? Why are you Interested In Doing The Things You Love?

You might be thinking…..
I don’t even know what I’m supposed to be doing in life!

Fear not.
Grab my hand.
We are in this together.

Here’s some questions that can help you uncover your passions:

1. What did you love to do when you were little?

This question helps uncover what you naturally are drawn to doing before bills or school were an issue.
List as many things as you can think of, no matter how small or stupid they might seem.
I loved to do little plays with my friends, I loved to write stories, I loved to explore in the woods and do little magic ceremonies talking to the birds and gathering twigs and sticks to build magic houses for them.
Don’t judge it, just write whatever you loved to do.

2. Moths to a Flame: What are you drawn to? What is something you have seen or experienced that makes you feel so fantastic or hypnotized that you feel like you are on fire?

This question is all about connection and something deep in your heart that yearns to do the same thing! When you see something and are blown away by it, or it speaks to you, it’s because deep down in your heart – you are hungry to do it yourself.

Case in point: I was around 4 years old when I saw this commercial and it had a MAJOR impression on me.

What were these cartoon girls doing?
Is this an actual job?
Sign me the hell up.

Even though I specifically remember seeing this and being blown away as a small child, it took years and years and years before I finally found myself connecting to it again. When I stumbled into my first burlesque show I had that same feeling again – that mesmerized feeling.

It was only a matter of time (and a hell of a lot of faking up some confidence) before I became my own version of those can-can girls I saw when I was 4.

Still racking your brain on what makes you feel like you’re on fire?
Don’t worry. Sometimes things take awhile.
An older sister of my best friend in school who had tattoos and dyed black spiky hair introduced me to Bikini Kill.  Girls playing guitars?  I was mesmerized.  And after all this time… Saturday night I played guitar and sang my own original song for the first time ever.   Thanks for the inspiration, Bikini Kill!
“That girl, she holds her head up so high..
I think I wanna be her best friend, yeah….”

3. If you had three different lifetimes and pick three different professions what would they be?

Let your imagination run wild!
Would you want to be a fortune teller in a traveling circus?
An explorer digging into the mysteries of ancient history?
An owner of a bookstore filled with your favorite stories?
A fashion designer creating inspiring new looks seen worldwide?

What would you want to do? Answer with three gorgeous ideas of your own.

This week, we are behind the steering wheel.
Time to kick ass and take names.

Tell me your answers in the comments
and share to your friends who might be trying to discover their dreams, too.

We can do this together.
Hell yes.

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