Learning Sexuality is Hard and Takes Time…

Featured Fem: Raelina Krikston

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I am pleased to introduce our guest blogger, my good friend, and overall beautiful soul, Raelina Krikston to our forum.  Raelina lived as an expat abroad in Paris for one year, and frequented several countries around the world before eventually making her way back to Denver where she currently resides.  Studying Digital Media and Marketing at the University of Denver, she is devoted to food advocacy, sustainability, and general wellness.  She is convicted with the belief that we have a social responsibility to question every cultural expectation that our society presents us with.  Who is this benefiting? At what cost?  Under what circumstances have certain situations become “the norm”? Raelina has an undefined desire to change the world.  Will that happen? She doesn’t know, but it’s important to aspire rather than remain stagnant and stoic.
Jerusaliem Gebreziabher
Webmaster and Social Media Coordinator

It’s not a good feeling when you come to the realization that you have just made the same mistake again. For the third, fourth, fifteenth time. The feeling of disappointment and self-hate that creeps in the early morning hours when you contemplate the ramifications of your actions. Forethought that has come too late has a sting to it. And it stings even worse in an old wound.

I hate to be the one to divulge so much about my personal life on the internet. But I think the problems that I have with myself and how it affects my romantic relationships is something that other people- men and women- struggle with as well. So in search of solidarity, I’ll metaphorically strip myself down for all the times I chose to bare it all.

I am a woman in my early twenties with a history of sexual abuse.

These experiences coupled with a healthy amount of media consumption taught me to believe, subconsciously, that a woman’s best qualities lay in her physical appearance- and that I as a woman, to wield as much power as I could, should prune myself to become the wet dream midnight fantasy of every man. The subtle effects of these thoughts detrimentally correlated to how I interacted with men and how I treated myself.

Consciously, I believed that the best quality about myself was my intelligence. I wanted to be desired for my mind, and not the body that contained it. I strove to downplay my appearance- I squirmed at compliments; I thought the only way to be taken seriously was to divorce myself from the “pretty girl” that others might see when they looked at me.

I wanted to be the strong independent heroine, but had no idea how this translated when it came to romantic relationships.

Not having a strong female role model in my life made things ever more complicated. Not only did I have no idea what I was doing, I felt I had no one to turn to for advice.

I adopted a I-don’t-need-a-man-to-open-the-door-for-me mentality, but when I found myself going on a date I felt pinned between two identities, the charming “coquette” or tough as steel wonder woman. Floundering between the two- becoming ever more confused. I would build up my tough strong persona only to watch it melt away when I was with someone, sacrificing what I had tried to make in lieu of what I thought they wanted- or expected.

Much of this came to light after my first “serious” relationship in college. Toeing the murky waters of womanhood turned out to be much more than I had ever expected. I was blind to the emotional dam I had built around myself until a wave of repressed memories and experiences came crashing down on me.

I was in my lowest moment when we broke up, but managed to spiral even more afterwards into a sexual escapade not unlike the plot line of a raunchy American Pie college flick.

I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. I felt powerful. But in retrospect this newfound sexual prowess was more alike to a toddler wielding a chainsaw. Simply put, I was out of control.

Finally, after waking up one too many times hungover and in a stranger’s bed, I became cognizant to how I was objectifying the people around me as well as myself.

Ever since, I have been striving to change this idea of myself and others. However, there are still times I mess up.I find myself wishing I had the power to wind back the hours like a thread on a bobbin; altering my actions to neatly re-order the situations I put myself in. Because when you’re aware of your mistakes while you’re making them, the shame and regret is two-fold.

My struggle is real for many other women and men of my generation, and a surprising amount of this can be attributed to antique gender roles as well as the inundation of hard core pornography in the media sphere. We have chosen cheap and superficial relations instead of relationships. Unsurprisingly, we are left unfulfilled.


Sexuality is an important part of the human experience. I do not feel shameful for acting on my natural human desires. Rather, I feel shameful that I acted almost purely to fulfill those desires without a real human connection.

Now I have to ask myself how do I balance physical and emotional connection so as to create an enriching experience for myself and the other person I am with?


This is a lot to throw out there, and I’ve brought up many different subjects on sexuality, identity and my own personal experiences, so to conclude as concisely as possible I’ll end with this:

To be the most independent, and powerful woman, I have to own my appearance and not be shamed into a certain “identity.”

I can’t try to be someone I’m not when I was born to be the person I am. I can be smart and pretty. One does not negate the other.

My past experiences do not define me, nor do they make me less worthy of love.

Everyone has baggage, and the sooner you can face it, the sooner you can make real progress. Being open and honest about my past with other people will lead to less misunderstandings/confusion and foster deeper and more meaningful connections.

Seek out and cultivate real relationships- platonic and romantic.

Social media exchange and gossip is not the basis for a real friendship, but too many of us confuse the two. I have a genuine interest to get to know people, listen to what their dreams are and find out their motivations for life. With this interest as a foundation, I could consider going to a romantic level with someone.


If you’ve read up to this point, thank you. If you can relate, or would just like to send me a message, my email is raelina@raelinamarie.com or @RaelinaMarie on Twitter.

Raelina Krikston
Digital Media Studies
University of Denver
Read more of Raelina’s writing here
Catch the original post here and the blog that hosts her at Medium.com.

13 Badass, Fictional Women of 2013

2013 has been an hot year for women in the media.  From Beyoncé, to Jennifer Lawrence, to Hilary Clinton, the buzz was never ending when it came to female powerhouses.  Check out some of our favorite femme fatales of the year from the silver screen: 13 badass, fictional women of MMXIII.

  1. Michonne, The Walking Dead

Michonne slashes Walkers as if they’re a piece of cake. She’s the only woman on TWD who has yet to have a love interest, too. Michonne’s number one priority is taking care of herself, but she’s fiercely loyal to her own, and doesn’t let any guys fuck with her. If I had to pick anyone to survive a zombie apocalypse with, it’d be Michonne.

  1. Skyler White, Breaking Bad

A lot of people had a problem with Skyler, and I think it’s mainly because she didn’t praise Walt for being the meth extraordinaire that he was. Instead, she protected her children from him. Because, let’s face it: even though we were rooting for him, he was a disaster. Skyler chose to protect her kids, which makes her a badass, not a passive housewife.

  1. Sophia, OITNB

PRAISE BE TO SOPHIA. She fixes hair and she counsels Piper, who seriously needs it. Sophia is the perfect mixture of strength and genuineness. She’s also a commendable representation of a transgender woman, whose story line isn’t muddled down by her sexuality, but rather, enhanced by it. Sophia was one of my favorite characters on OITNB because I felt like her storyline was the most unique and honest.

  1. Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Sure, she’s in a love triangle, but that’s not her only sole purpose in life (Bella Swan, I’m looking at you). Katniss’s number one priority is protecting her family and her hometown. Not only does she battle twenty-three other tributes, but she also battles a corrupt government. Much more impressive than battling sadness because her boyfriend left her for a few months (again, Bella, I’m looking at you).

  1. Queenie, AHS: Coven

Queenie doesn’t take anyone’s shit. She knows what she’s capable of and doesn’t let anyone walk all over her. Plus, being a human voodoo doll helps. Queenie is a badass witch who is confident in herself, which makes her not only beautiful, but a role model by every standard.

  1. Donna Meagle, Parks & Rec.


She’s sassy, sure of herself, and smarter than 90% of the people in the world. She knows how to get work done, but she also knows how to treat herself and relax. Donna is real, and Donna is loyal. She can roll with the political elites, but she also knows how to remain true to herself.

  1. Lady Sif, Thor 2

She can wield a weapon better than arguably all of Asgard and she’s not afraid to show it. Lady Sif should be the role model for every child everywhere. Thor is great and all, but we all know who the real hero is.

  1. Olivia Pope, Scandal

Olivia Pope is one of my favorite TV characters to date. She can take care of any problem, and she’s one of the most complex characters on prime time television. Also, it’s Kerry Washington.  Everyone loves Kerry Washington.

  1. Hit Girl, Kick ass 2

The movie may be called Kick Ass, but it’s Hit Girl who really steals the show. She kicks ass and takes no names. Hit Girl can fight her way out of anything and isn’t scared of what the universe throws at her.

  1. Tara Thornton, True Blood

Just try to tell Tara what to do. She will rip you apart—and not just because she’s a vampire. Tara’s no doormat, she doesn’t need anyone validate her.

  1. Arya Stark, Game of Thrones

Arya was a badass from the beginning of the series, but her existence gets more and more badass by the episode. She’s not spooked by anyone (or thing) and she’s sure as hell not scared of the gender norms of her day. She knows who she is, and it’s not someone’s wife.

  1. Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones

ALL HAIL THE MOTHER OF DRAGONS. Daenerys may start off by being a meek young bride, but she grows into being one of the fiercest rulers of her people. She doesn’t let men walk all over her—instead, she shows them who really runs things. Daenerys doesn’t rely on a man to get her anywhere.

  1. Brandy Klark, The To Do List

Thank GOD for this movie. It’s the first time a girl has lost her virginity in a movie without FALLING IN LOVE with the guy. Plus it asserts that virginity isn’t this huge deal that society makes it out to be. We aren’t magical unicorns if we’re virgins. And we aren’t sluts if we chose to lose it. It’s really just ‘no big deal’.

––

Hannah Gordon
University of Michigan
Creative Writing Fiction
Communications

My first time…was in a Porta Potty

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“It feeeeeeels like the first time.  Feels like the very-first-time.” Aww c’mon you know the words…

Okay, okay, no I’m fucking with you on the Porta Potty thing (or am I?), but let’s be honest – there are a good percentage of people out there who can find solidarity in the fact that our first times were absolutely horrific.  There are also several of us that had the most stupendous, beautiful times in that first encounter with sexual intercourse, and those of us that just aren’t doing it, at all. So lets talk about it.

Sure, it’s a little awkward, but you gotta admit, our vast array of experiences are at the very least interesting and unique.  That’s why What the F Magazine is hosting an anonymous “my first time” sex survey: we want to hear testimonies from the University of Michigan to include in our next issue.  Don’t have sex? That’s cool too, and you may find some of these stories pretty fascinating anyway.  For you coitus connoisseurs, moderately active folk, and whatever is outside or in between: if you have stories that you’d like to share, click here for our survey.  So far we’ve got over 70 responses in just the first two hours!

If you’re feeling wary, check out the publications below that have done similar features, and even the web series by John Stamos asking celebrities about their first times (Olivia Munn lost her’s on her 18th birthday…it was less than stimulating, watch her interview here).

Indulge.

Add me on Facebook-

“I was 15. Christmas night. On the basement floor. Partner? 17-year-old steady boyfriend of several months. It was his first time too. He just friend requested me on Facebook. Currently I’m 53, happily married for the second time for 26 years.” via Huffington Post

At least the TV was on…-

“I was very drunk and it happened while we were watching Castle, so I stared into Nathan Fillion’s eyes on the screen over his shoulder while he got off and I wondered if all sex was really this boring.

Spoiler alert – it isn’t.” via Jezebel.com

On a trampoline-

“All my friends had lost “theirs” earlier than me, but I had told myself I was waiting [until] at least 16. Well 16 rolled around and we went to a gin and juice party. Unfortunately, I laid my eyes on the hottest guy at the party and then laid down with him on a trampoline. It wasn’t magical or the special waterfall I imagined. But, saying I lost my virginity on a trampoline has made for some great conversations.”  via Huffington Post

Taco Bell with side of car wreck-

“. . . the night I had sex for the first time, my mom thought I was spending the night at my friend Kelly’s house, but really I was fucking Brad in the backseat of my car, which was parked in the woods on property Brad’s family owned. The phrase “lost my virginity” doesn’t seem fitting for what I did with Brad. I don’t think I’ve ever felt virginal in my entire life, and whatever pureness does exist inside me was not poked out by Brad’s penis. I was just in the back of my car listening to Linkin Park and trying to find fulfilling sex. Wild hymens can’t be broken.

After Brad blew his load, we decided to go to the Waffle House. While dining, I remember the Bloodhound Gang lyric “I want you smothered want you covered like my Waffle House hash browns” played in my head. On the drive back to the property, we noticed the car in front of us was swerving across the road. The car smashed into a tree, and the driver flew through the windshield. We pulled over to help. The driver dangled out of his windshield covered in blood.

“Hey, is that you, Brad?” The driver slurred before he passed out.

He knew my boyfriend. Totally freaked, we called 911. An ambulance and cops arrived; he was taken to the hospital. But our trouble had just started. In our town, there was a curfew for teenagers; my boyfriend was old enough to stay out, but I was not. The cops breathalysed us, and neither of us passed. Thanks to the Good Samaritan law (we got caught in an effort to help someone else), neither of us were charged with underage drinking. The police called our parents, and they took us home.” excerpt via Vice.com

One, two, three?-

“I once agreed to go home with a guy who I’d seen out a few times and always thought was pretty hot but we never actually dated. We were at a bar with a bunch of other people and he kind of singled me out and bought me a bunch of drinks. Since he seemed so into me, I decided to go with the flow. When I got to his place, I was surprised to find his wife there, ready for the two of us to jump into bed for a threesome. I know this would turn some people on, but I turned right around and left! I haven’t seen the guy since.” via Sheknows

Très fratty–

“I attended a small liberal arts college in the south, and I ended up pledging a fraternity my freshman year. He was the president of that fraternity and three years older than me. Once a year the chapter would have this long, drawn out ritual that ended with the incoming pledges being assigned a “big brother,” an upperclassman in the fraternity who would take the younger pledge under his wing. After the ceremony it was tradition for the big brothers to take their “little brother” back to the fraternity house to drink and whatnot. At one point in the night, we ended up going to his room to get some ice, which somehow turned into a slightly drunken awkward kiss that transitioned into slightly drunken awkward man-on-man action.

/actual true story.” via Jezebel.com

The best advice-

“My first time wasn’t even my first time. It hurt so much I was like, “No fucking way that beast is going to fit inside of me.” It took a lot of years and a lot of beers for me to get over that pain. Now that I want to blaze, like, everyday, guys are like, “M’eh.” I remember having a freakout a few years ago and telling my mom that I didn’t like sex. She said, “Honey, it’s not you. Men just don’t know what they’re doing.” Best advice I’ve ever been given.” excerpt via Vice.com

What’s that move called?-

“My first time was definitely awkward. The guy I was with kept saying stuff like ‘How’s that for you, you dirty girl?’ and ‘Tell me how much you want me.’ He also dragged me into about 30 different positions. I felt like I was doing Pilates! When we were finished, I went to hug him but accidentally swung my hand out too fast and ended up whacking him really hard on the penis. I was embarrassed, and he was in pain. At least I can laugh about it now.” via Cosmo

Family Guy nightcap-

“It was our wedding night, and despite having done damn near everything else, we had agreed to save the coitus, the final frontier, until we were married. We’re Orthodox Jews, and hey, this was how we justified the everything else. He wasn’t a virgin, having gotten religion in college after having his share of partners. I was, technically. After the wedding, still in our dress and suit (respectively), we drove over to the fancy hotel my parents graciously paid for (which is kind of weird in retrospect). I told him I had to “slip into something more comfortable”, then went into the bathroom and got into a pair of fuzzy pink footy pajamas. I came out and did a striptease to “Natural Woman”. I simply couldn’t take this whole “deflowering” thing seriously. We commenced the consummation, in the bed and in the bathtub. I remember being underwhelmed, but knowing we would get better with practice. I didn’t bleed, and it didn’t hurt. I didn’t come until we resorted to our usual fingerbanging – the clit wants what it wants, what can I say. Then we snuggled and watched Family Guy (which totally was still funny and not lame back in 2005), and ate leftover wedding food. It was perfect.” via Jezebel.com

Inspired?  Submit here.

Why I’m a Feminist: Brianna Kovan

Yoko Ono, Arise

And they say “everything’s great”—
Everything’s equal.

But how would you respond when another friend sits you down and tells you about her assault, about how she couldn’t find the words to tell anyone, couldn’t find the words to tell herself, how she’s only just now accepting the fact that it happened?

Or what about the lingering comments as I walk down the street?
They follow me, you, us down South University when the clock has long passed 2 a.m.
They follow me while waiting for the subway
They follow you in the form of late-night catcalls walking home from work
They follow us on the Internet – a convoluted world of masks and facades

There’s no one to account for the sexism, the misogyny, the words.
The words that hang there – following me, you, us.

And they say “everything’s great”—
Everything’s equal.

But how would you respond to the women who sees herself as a physical object, who values her appearance more than her brain, who focuses
fixates
obsesses
about her weight instead of grades
instead of work
instead of relationships
instead of her well-being

even though she can rationalize the hell out of feminist theory.
because, believe me, she can.

And they say “everything’s great”—
Everything’s equal.

Where? How?
I have questions, and you don’t have answers.
How do I respond to my friend?
How do I respond when she sits me down and tells me about the assault?
You didn’t answer.

I can’t separate hers from the last story I heard – each forced out, each tangled, forming a web from within which I can’t navigate, can’t escape from.

How should I respond when this is the 1 2 3 4 5 6 seventh time a friend has sat me down and told me this?

I don’t want false optimism and rosy glasses. Fuck your rosy glasses.
There’s no liberation when you’re going in circles.

Brianna Kovan, photographed by Jerusaliem Gebreziabher

Brianna Kovan, photographed by Jerusaliem Gebreziabher

–-
Brianna Kovan
Editor in Chief, What the F Magazine

Yoko Ono Arising: A Call to Women Everywhere

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It’s amazing to me how alone, isolated, and weak I’ve felt at so many different points in my life for being a woman.  More amazing is the solidarity I’ve found through the network of women in my community regarding our shared and different experiences.  For so long I was gutted and isolated with shame over sexual abuse from my past; I found it hard to love the person I saw in the mirror and felt it was impossible for anyone to ever love me.  On top of the guilt, which eventually faded into a smeared stain in the back of my mind, I was racked with fears of walking home alone at night, unwanted sexual advances, and general demeanment under the plague of patriarchy I experienced all over the world.  Life is hard, all human beings have that in common, but our hardships as women can’t be brushed aside, it’s not just a token phrase.  Whether we are victims of sexual violence, hatred, or bigotry, to name a few, these obstacles should not defeat us.  Why should we be silent?  We are worth more than our scars and we don’t have to be alone in our fight.  These injustices we face as women are abuses to the human race, they effect all of us, regardless of where we stand in gender, orientation, ethnicity, or any other category.

Yoko Ono has been a longstanding siren for women’s rights and has recently launched the Arising campaign.  Through testaments and photos of just your eyes, Yoko invites women of all ages around the world to be part of her latest artistic endeavor.  These submissions will be displayed in her exhibition at the Palazzo Bembo for the 55th Venice Biennale.  A selection of the testaments will also be printed in a book.

WOMEN OF ALL AGES, FROM ALL COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD: YOU ARE INVITED TO SEND A TESTAMENT OF HARM DONE TO YOU FOR BEING A WOMAN. WRITE YOUR TESTAMENT IN YOUR OWN LANGUAGE, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, AND WRITE HOWEVER OPENLY YOU WISH. YOU MAY SIGN YOUR FIRST NAME IF YOU WISH, BUT DO NOT GIVE YOUR FULL NAME. – See more at: http://imaginepowerarising.com/#sthash.oPluAxbV.dpuf

Join the movement, share yourself, embrace each other.

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Welcome to our new blog!

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Photo by: Jerusaliem Gebreziabher

What the F Magazine is excited to introduce our new blog where we’ll present you with the latest and greatest from our organization. Not familiar with What the F?  Not a problem. What the F is the premiere organization and publication on the University of Michigan’s campus devoted to women’s health.  We’re on a mission to inform, educate, entertain, and unite people on this campus in the name of gender equality.

Do you ever flip through the glossy world of Cosmo and ask yourself, “What the eff?” So many women’s magazines around are all about MEN. “How to be kissable.”  “How to be sexy.”  “What he likes to hear.”  “How to give a blowjob he won’t forget.”  This simply won’t do. We are opening up the world of womanhood, redefining femininity, and giving you shit that really matters. Stimulating discourse on topics ranging from gender norms, patriarchy, hook up culture on campus, or institutionalized sexism, we’re fostering a safe space for students to express themselves. Like what you see?  Join us every Wednesday in Mason Hall room 3330 at 9pm.  Become part of the discussion and contribute to the movement.

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