Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rant: Rihanna, you do us wrong.

Dance club diva she may be, but I've gotta admit that some of Rihanna's lyrics make me uncomfortable, and her latest hit has me downright disturbed and annoyed. Crimony, it makes me feel like an old lady railing against 'the music those kids listen to today', but when must an artist take responsibility for the cultural and social impact of their message? Allow me to explain...

Let's review some of the possible lessons of
Rihanna's lyrics for "Only Girl".

Want you to make me feel like I'm the only girl in the world

Like I'm the only one that you'll ever love

Like I'm the only one who knows your heart

Only girl in the world...

Like I'm the only one that's in command

Cuz I'm the only one who understands how to make you feel like a man, yeah

1) Co-dependence

The very concept that it's Your responsibility to make Me feel like a woman, or mine to make you feel like a man, is co-dependent. My emotions are mine, and it's MY job to manage them, not yours, and vice versa.

2) Selfishness

Why would I want to be the Only One that my partner will ever love? ('has loved' is implied, eh?) Or who will ever know his heart? How f@%&ing selfish is that?!

Loving people and being loved in return is a joyous and magical experience that I want my partner to have. I hope he's been loved by many people before me, and should we break up, that he'll find love with others in the future. Even if we agree to be monogamous, I still hope that he meets new people, comes to love them, and has lots of people in his life with whom he can share his heart.

Not only would I find it selfish to hoard his love for myself, but it's also selfish to deny him other resources for experiencing love. (Not to mention the pressure placed on me should I be made responsible for meeting all of his future needs in the realm of love. But that's a different issue altogether.) Why would I want to limit his life this way unless I'm threatened, which brings me to the next point...

3) Competitiveness

Perhaps it's just me, but isn't there a measure of competition once I demand to be the Only One? It's me OR anyone else. Now, before you get all uppity, I acknowledge the difference between wanting to BE the only one and wanting to FEEL LIKE the only one. Bear with me here...

If it's desirable to Feel like the only one, it must therefore be desirable to BE the only one, and for me to be the only one, I must be in competition with others. And this is the message that we soak up without question... It's Me vs. You ladies.

Now go
watch the video. First, if she were the only girl in the world, I doubt she'd be wandering around the desert in her low-backed strapless bra!

The real issue is the message that she's selling... one of which is that men are submissive.
How else do you explain her lyric about 'making him beg for it and then swallow his pride,' ergo - emasculating him, and that she's 'the only one who makes him feel like a man?' Okay, yes, some men are submissive by choice, but not all! Most men I've dated felt LESS like a "man" when emasculated, but perhaps that's just me.

And women... well, clearly, providing enthusiastic sex is what will make us feel valued and desired.
We're sold the line that we'll win the competition for attention by being really giving in bed, putting his sexual needs first, and by being responsible for his feelings of masculinity. (Which we've already undermined...)

REALLY? For a one night stand, that's fine. But for any other substantial relationship, not so much. Albeit, it's not an uncommon message, and yet, it does not lead to a healthy and fulfilling partnership. And musical messages are so subliminal! They sneak right in and inform our view of ourselves, each other and the world without our even noticing. Is it any wonder that so many of us experience such mental and emotional, not to mention physical, trauma as we enter the realm of romantic and sexual relationship?

Rihanna, I implore you... if you actually care about the well-being of your fans, please take a tougher look at what you choose to promote with your beats and your voice. You can do so much better, and we deserve it.

M. Makael Newby, 2011 - All Rights Reserved -

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

All at once well met. Hello, Winnipeg!

This was written two months ago, and held for personal considerations. Let's go back to early November...

Here I am in Winnipeg, Manitoba, doing my affirmations and energetic field work, hanging with myself, having awesome conversations with taxi drivers, and making a difference in the lives of free-trade shop owners. Holy shit.
Stay tuned for the miracle...

I decided to hang out at
The Forks today, a relatively new development of shops, a market, an open-air amphitheater, a prairie garden, and several other walks and areas and features that educate a visitor about the history of the land, the region, and the peoples. Almost instantly, it spoke to me. I grew up deeply connected to wild lands, reading about the legends of the Sandy Lake Cree, and there, right before me in an outdoor park, was written Cree. A part of me is at home here.

The amphitheater's stone elements are carved with stories of many cultures' relationships to the night sky, most topped with a metal structure that sights the mentioned stars from the center of the plaza at certain days and times of the year. I learned about the Three Steps of Vishnu, the Mesopotamian Lion and Sickle, the Chinese lovers Niu Lang and Zhi Nu who, banished to opposite sides of the sky, are connected once yearly by a bridge of magpies across the constellation Cygnus. And more.

I've long desired a powerful telescope, so you know that I geeked out.

This, however, came AFTER investigating the market and shops, upon which I met P. She has a shop there, which I was about to walk right past when she made eye contact and said, "Hi!" So I responded in kind and decided to check out her wares.

"What are you reading?" she asked, seeing my latest Terry Pratchett book poking out of my pocket. I praised his skill and cleverness as a writer, and she showed me what she's reading... a book by Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual writer/composer/etc. who's crossed my path, and my Ipod, before.

Thus launched an hour-long conversation about spirituality, relationships, marriage, writing and publishing, websites, energy work, and more. Which was great enough... and here comes the miracle.

I mentioned my affirmations, which I've been led to write myself... three each morning. One of this morning's affirmations was,
"I make a difference with everyone I meet." Well, it turns out that P, who has been happily married and entirely faithful for over 25 years, has an admirer... a professional man, younger-than-she, with whom she has felt a deep connection. A heart-connection blending with desire, longing, and chemistry.

And although she has broken off communication with him (he's truly stuck on her even though she's married, and has been trying to entice her onto the slippery slope of "just-friendship"), and though she has never encouraged him, nor done anything other than hug him, she has felt guilty.

"I would never take action," she explained, "because if I did I know I'd hide it, and even if I hid it, my husband would know. And then it would be over, and I LOVE my husband." She is a happily, lovingly, joyfully married woman, and she's felt guilty for even
feeling what she has felt for this other man. "How can it be possible?" she asked me.

WELL! Did she ask the right person or what?!

So she talked, I listened, I shared, she inquired, I explained, and she was SOOOO relieved. "I've never told anyone other than my sister about this!" she said.

Monogamy is simply what works for her, her husband, and for their marriage. And somehow, knowing that there
are other ways, that she can feel what she feels and still trust herself to make the choices that honor her marriage, and that feeling those feelings does not automatically dishonor her husband, has allowed her to release the guilt. YAHOO! An hour well-spent!

She hopes to see me again before I leave town, though I'm not sure how that will happen. I'm going to help her figure out something technical about her website, and I know that we'll stay in touch. She is too cool, with too much going on, to not follow her adventures with curiosity and enthusiasm.

And so, though it
looks like this trip is pushing my finances toward their limit, how can I NOT have faith that I am in the right place at the right time, doing exactly what I'm supposed to do? This adventure has largely been about hearing and following my inner guidance. So far, so great!

ps - All At Once Well Met is the title of an English madrigal by Thomas Weelkes. I sang madrigals in high school, and this title spoke to me as I stood in the clear, chill air of the amphitheater, reflecting on the wonder of "coincidence." :)

M. Makael Newby, 2010 - All Rights Reserved -

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Success for NCSF's DSM Revision Project!

I've supported the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom for years now, and I find this recent news particularly share-worthy. Yay for the NCSF! You can learn more about their mission at


NCSF's DSM Revision Project is Successful in 2010

By: Susan Wright

NCSF Media Relations

One of the ways we can see the positive affect of NCSF's DSM Revision Project is in the outcome of child custody cases. NCSF's Incident Response program helps almost 500 people a year: 132 people asked for help with child custody/divorce cases in 2009, while 154 people asked for help with the same in 2008. NCSF provides expert referrals, educates lawyers and social service professionals, and supplies the research and information that can convince family court judges to allow kinky parents to keep custody of their kids.

Five years ago, NCSF's success rate was approximately 20% when it came to refuting the false contention that a parent is unfit because they're involved in BDSM, swinging or polyamory. Today, that success rate has risen to 50%.

A large part of this success is due to NCSF's efforts to change the tone of the conversation in media and politics. In 2010, NCSF staff were successful in persuading the American Psychiatric Association to depathologize Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Fetishism and cross-dressing. Since then, family court judges have cited the proposed revisions for the DSM-V (that have not even been published yet) as the reason for dismissing challenges to child custody due to a parent's alternative sexuality.

In the years ahead, with your support, NCSF will continue to make strides to achieve equality for all consenting adults no matter who they love or how they have sex.