Browsing Tag


Guest Posts, feminism, Sexual Assault/Rape

Grabbing Pussy, Flipping the Script.

October 11, 2016

By Tammy Delatorre

When I first saw your videotape, I might say I was disgusted like thousands of men and women were who watched it. But instead, I was obsessed. I listened to it over and over, practically memorizing the words. Why was I fixated?

You said you grabbed women by their pussies. At first, I wanted to understand the mechanics of it. It implies a woman has a handle down there, something around which you can get your fingers; as if the pussy were the first body part to reach for, rather than a woman’s hand to shake out of respect, or her arms to embrace in friendship. It implies, too, that no permission is needed—the reach from a man in power is justification enough. They will let you do it; they will allow you to do anything. That’s what you said.

I’m intimately familiar with the biology of a pussy because I have one, although I realize my pussy is not one you’d want to grab. After all, according to your rating system of women, I’m not an 8—far from it. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Women

On Fainting.

January 13, 2015


By Jen Girdish.

Fainting is a violent thing to the observer. It’s unsteady footing, whites-of-the-eyes, and limp limbs. It’s a quick fall, a simulation of dying. But to the fainter, it’s like turning down the dial on a radio. The fainter loses hearing, then vision, then to goes to sleep. In some ways, the faint—or syncope—is incredibly compassionate.

I’ve spent the few seconds of a faint in potent and tender dreamstates. I’ve been to my grandfather’s stained glass workshop, pressing the backs of my thighs against the soft benches upholstered in his old flannel shirts. I’ve finally ridden the horse that my father bought me for Christmas—the horse that turned out to be wild and never saddled. I’ve played in a pile of fall leaves with Susan Sontag.

The first time I fainted, I had just pierced my ears at one of those overstocked accessory boutiques at the clean mall. I was eleven or so, and mom finally lost the lobe war. We moved in with my grandmother—a different small town outside of Pittsburgh than the other small town outside of Pittsburgh where we used to live. I lost all my friends, so drilling holes in my ears was the consolation prize.

In our debates over whether to defile my lobes with a 15-gauge needle, my mom often brought up Julianne. Julianne was my mom’s student who ripped apart her ear on the playground with just a chandelier earring and a chain-link fence. I pictured the earring ripping like a tag off a new shirt. Julianne’s ears were my mother’s cautionary tale of growing up too early, of not being happy with you have. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Women

Kennedy Vagina.

June 19, 2014

Kennedy Vagina By Amy Turner

When I was nine my mom dressed me like a Kennedy and told me my vagina stuck out. It was 1984. I had been prepping for a third grade dance recital for retired Balboa Bay Club Patrons when I turned to her, modeling my hot pink Capezio kitty cat costumes with marabou cuffs. My mother stared and said, “Hmm. You know, your vagina sticks out. Just phmph. Just sticks out.” Then she made me turn to the side.

We looked at my 9-year-old mound stretching the cotton-poly blend, and I thought it appeared perfectly normal. She kept saying, “Just…sticks out there, doesn’t it.” I let her continue to stare and laugh. A soft shake started inside of me. The rattle hum of defective. How does one’s vagina ‘stick out?’ What does one do about it?

“Put on your coat and I’ll take you down,” she said.

The coat was three-quarters, royal blue, with a matching hat. She’d gotten up at 4 a.m. to go to a sale of “European Designers” to buy it. When buttoned up and backcombed, I looked like a tiny Jackie Kennedy. I had her Midwestern aspiration written all over me. She’d moved to Newport when she saw a statue of a dolphin that she thought was pretty. My father followed. Two immigrants. South Dakota and Texas trying on Southern California cool.

My mom drove me to the Yacht Club we didn’t belong to, where, along with my dance cohorts, we danced for retired Yacht Club people. Two of the girls in the group belonged to the club, two didn’t. But they all stopped at the gated entrance while my mother drove onto the property without a decal on her windshield, waving like Lady Diana at the teenage boy manning the booth as she barely paused in her Toyota. She gestured to him, to open the gate, immune to country club law. He looked confused as he hit the lever, and she just drove on. I scrunched down in the seat, trying to disappear, as she pulled up in the handicapped space, and told me to get out, dance, “and put my shoulders back.”

How could a person put their shoulders back and hide their girl bone at the same time? I danced cautiously. Timid and protective next to the girls with member numbers that allowed them to walk up to counters ordering grilled cheeses like life was a free carnival. Girls with spiral perms and – probably — concave peeholes.

My mother reminded me often that life was not a free carnival. That the families in the housing developments with the Mercedes, the friends doing a remodel, the wives who didn’t work, skinny women, women who went to nail salons, there was a price for all of it she’d caution me.

“A woman must have her own money to have her freedom. You never want to be a kept woman,” she’d say, smuggling knick-knacks she bought at Marshall’s into the house, hiding the contraband from my father.

Another soap dish made in France! France! The rustle of her plastic bags rang out daily. As if one ceramic swan was going to push us into belonging.

She’d hold it up to the light… “it’s European,” class and glass issues sparkling.

My father hid Marlboro lights in his gym bag and covered up their aroma with cough drops and Old Spice so that every time he came home from work I felt like I was having dinner with a hooker with a head cold.

At nine, it was clear, I didn’t want stockpiled French soap dishes. I wouldn’t be a kept woman. Maybe I wouldn’t be a woman at all. The way my mother explained it, being a woman sounded like punishment. I’d be….a worker. Sure. A worker. Still there was third grade life to contend with. Such as, “Hey, Mom! Brandi Benson invited me to Knott’s Berry Farm on Saturday. Can I go?”

“No such thing as a free lunch,” she’d say, and scowl as if I were a kinderwhore.

It’s confusing to be young and feel bad for liking things. Things that have been crafted to appeal to you, like amusement parks, designer clothes, and Chinese restaurants with children’s menus. My friends had dishwashers and housekeepers and Hawaiian vacations. My mom weeded the garden in her undies and washed her own plates. Every time I grumbled about having to dry, she’d say, “doing chores was the only time I ever got to talk to my mother.” Well, everyone I knew had gardeners and Moms who wear separates, and they still manage to talk, I’d think.

I learned a form of cootie catcher feminism. In one triangle, there was work. But flip up another triangle, and there was the body as currency and phrases like ‘damaged goods’. But mostly, what was happening between me and my mother was a schism of culture more than a schism of gender. Esther Perel says that in the past, “intimacy grew out of lifelong shared work, it is now intimacy itself we work at.” The mother daughter romance is no joke. She wanted it farming style. Families needed each other to survive a winter. But we were not on a prairie. We had trouble.

My mom wanted me to get a job, get married and have children that would grow up listening to Top-40 hits, attend a community college, sleep with enough people until they find the one that most resembles the cherished parent, get a job selling copy toner, have weekends in Lake Havasu where they do a little wakeboarding and wife-swapping, make babies, retire to Palm Springs, and die.

But I had dreams, too. I wanted to live unpunished.

I’ve looked at it, this being a woman. I’ve looked at my pubis too. It’s a real standard issue number. So I think it was probably my mom’s fear that I’d actually grow up and use my pubis. But I didn’t know that then. The way you didn’t know a lot of things.



Photo 63

Amy Turner is an author, essayist and TV writer who just this past year had two pieces published on The Huffington Post. She was a Producer on ABC Family’s “MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, ” a story editor on CBS’s “THE EX LIST” and a staff writer on Aaron Sorkin’s NBC drama, “STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP.” She’s working on a nonfiction collection, “Cool Girls Die Alone.” Some twittering at @turnerleturner.

Amy met Jen when she attended Jen’s Manifestation Workshop in L.A. They believe they are long lost siblings.


Jennifer Pastiloff, Beauty Hunter, is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Her work has been featured on The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, Jezebel, Salon, among others. Jen’s leading one of her signature retreats to Ojai, Calif. over New Years. Check out for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health, Tuscany. She is also leading a Writing + The Body Retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch Jan 30-Feb 1 in Ojai (2 spots left.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.



funny, Guest Posts, R Rated, Self Image, Sex

When the Man Talks to Me about My Lady Parts. *R Rated.

February 16, 2014

**This humorous essay by author Heather Fowler has strong sexual content and is R Rated. If you have no interest in that…stop reading right now. Seriously. I have every intention of providing a space for women to keep it real. (For everyone, really.) This a light, frank, body-positive post. Proceed with a sense of humor please 🙂 And I bow to Heather for being so bold. We had a great conversation where she brought up the fact that women aren’t allowed to really talk about their own genitalia without causing a stir. So, here ya go… ~ Jen Pastiloff, Founder of The Manifest-Station.


When the Man Talks to Me about My Lady Parts by Heather Fowler.

I can’t help it.  I’m excited.  Who knew I had something so great?  It is with extreme enthusiasm that he engages this topic.

As for me, during this engagement, I’m agog by my own former underdeveloped awareness. I can be forgiven. We often undervalue the things right under our navels. I mean, I know I’ve taken pleasure from this anatomy variously in my past, without even recognizing how important this particular part can be. But he specifies criteria like a pussy aficionado.

He doesn’t mind when things get wet and impromptu.  He is a fierce explorer. Fierce!

Now, his opinion should not be discounted because he is actually an expert in this field, belonging to a Harley gang and all.  This means he’s had lots of pussy.  He has enjoyed it as a meal and a la carte.  I like a man who talks the walk.  He squeals he has had more than one at once.

Several of them, many times. We discuss.  “Tell me about your sexual past,” I say, because I am a role-bender that way, intrepid.

When I reflect deeply, I recognize that his interest in pussy is parallel to the interest of a guy who loves sports statistics. Maybe this one keeps statistics.  He certainly knows about his bat.

Why did I do this?  Not sure, but here’s the good part: Usually, I’d pay for analysis from this level of “expert in the field,” wherever research is needed.

But I got lucky, and with this level of lucky, I don’t have to pay.  I pull the sheet up and wait.  I am covering my boring breasts, which he largely ignored. I smile, trying to be innocuous.  I’m about to understand my pussy, really get the lowdown, articulated from a guy’s point of view, probably for the first time.  This is huge.

I tremble. I have to be humble. I look away.

I hope I don’t look too curious because, sometimes, that puts guys off.  Nope.  He still wants to talk about it.

“Some women just had too much,” he says.  “They can’t feel a thing.  Not like you.  Yours is still sensitive.  And you have great padding in the back.”

“Oh,” I say.  “Right. Padded ass. That’s good.” But I nod, intrigued.  “Go on.”

No one has ever spoken this frankly.  I examine his hair, that blond stuff on his head.  It is long in the way that motorbike riders enjoy, since their hedonism extends to the wind at play.  Everything is play. I think about washing the sheets.

“And some women are hard down there,” he says.  “Like a plank.  You can bruise your hipbone on that.  And sometimes you can’t go that deep.  Some women have what’s like a slit, hard to push into, and other women hang loose and open all the time.” He mentions to me that a condom might have skewed his view of this pussy, my pussy, a little bit, but it was still good.  He says I couldn’t possibly have experienced it like he does.

Right, I’m thinking. It must be like that freckle on one’s face that becomes rather insignificant in light of the whole face.  I have a whole face.  A whole body.  But he is a pussy specialist.

“Would you say these things if it was bad?” I ask. “I mean, go on like this?”

“No, of course not,” he says.  “Then I’d just say nothing. I’m not a total cad.”  He kisses me like he thinks I’m cute.

I am not cute like he imagines.  I am pondering how it would feel to experience my own pussy, from the exterior, with nerve endings, by inhabiting two bodies at once.  I wish I could bodysnatch him and enjoy being both of us.  I get lost in this fantasy.

“It was great, great,” he says. “And so I could just sneak in here and help you out,” he says, pulling at a tendril of hair near my face.  “Like I’m the rogue character in one of your novels.  I could be your bad boy.  Does your pussy squirt?”

“I haven’t thought about it,” I reply, neglecting to mention that I don’t write romance novels.  “I’m not down there, you know, watching.  Does squirting imply a sort of specific distance?  Does it involve a quantity of fluid? Maybe you can tell me.”  I do like the idea of having a bad boy, especially one who so appreciates my pussy.  But if I want a bad boy, I want one with mad skills, one who cannot be denied.

He smiles, petting my head, and I say, “If you gave me five or six orgasms a session, that could be worthwhile.  But we’d have to be monogamous for fluid-bonding.  We could build to that.”  I’m thinking that’s a low bar for taking on a bad boy, if he doesn’t plan on nurturing or taking out the trash.

His face falls.  Maybe he thought two or three was really big shakes.

For me, it’s not. Two or three is an introduction. Nonetheless, from this exchange, I realize I have an excellent, frequently underutilized pussy.  This is a subject to ponder.  How can I do better for my pussy? Why, and for how long, must my organ remain underutilized?

He asks what I think about his dick.  “It’s fine,” I say.  “Good.” But I have no new remarks to issue here.  What does one say when one means, “Truly average.  A decent size.  Not too large?” but knows these comments won’t go over well.  I think about saying, “Your dick is important to me insofar as it functions well when we are engaged in romantic exchanges, aided by outings and interpersonal connection, though I would not be upset if it wasn’t functioning, provided I loved you enough.”

I determine he is too bad boy to appreciate this distinction.  “You have a good dick,” I conclude, going for minimalist.  When he leaves that day, I think:  I won’t remember it.

Later I examine my pussy as if it is not attached to me and think about other women.  Do they know how great their pussies are?  How underutilized? Someone should tell them.

This someone might be him.  Then again—he might not know enough.

I’ll be a crusader for the femme O.  Look out world, I got this.



Heather Fowler is the author of the story collections Suspended Heart (Aqueous Books, Dec. 2010), People with Holes (Pink Narcissus Press, July 2012), This Time, While We’re Awake (Aqueous Books, May 2013) andElegantly Naked In My Sexy Mental Illness (Queen’s Ferry Press, forthcoming May 2014). Fowler’s People with Holes was named a 2012 finalist for Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award in Short Fiction. This Time, While We’re Awake was recently selected by artist Kate Protage for representation in the Ex Libris 100 Artists 100 Books exhibition this February at the 2014 AWP Conference. Fowler’s stories and poems have been published online and in print in the U.S., England, Australia, and India, and appeared in such venues as PANKNight TrainstoryglossiaSurreal SouthJMWWPrick of the SpindleShort Story America,Feminist Studies and others, as well as having been nominated for the storySouth Million Writers Award, Sundress Publications Best of the Net, and the Pushcart Prize. She is Poetry Editor at Corium Magazine and a Fiction Editor for the international refereed journal, Journal of Post-Colonial Cultures & Societies (USA). Please visit her website:

writingrefractedJennifer Pastiloff is a writer based in Los Angeles. She is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Jen will be leading a Retreat in Costa Rica at the end of March and her annual retreat to Tuscany is in July 2014. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand what her retreats are like. Check out her site for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Jen and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. `