Author: Frances Solá-Santiago

In Defense of the Clitoris and the Female Orgasm

Written by María de Lourdes Vaello The vagina has stood at the conjunction of two very different life experiences. On one hand, it has been the axis of hateful rhetoric from people, whom have not grasped a profound understanding of the emotional and psychological burden that the female genitalia represents, and on the other, it has constantly proved to be a symbol of resistance and empowerment to many women across the globe. Historically, women were believed to be unable to climax, so they were used by men for their own sexual pleasure, while her experience was regarded more for reproductive purposes. Which is why, when women discovered the clitoris as a tool of self-pleasure and shed public light to a subjugated subject (the enjoyment of intimacy, far beyond the interest of giving birth), people reacted in different ways. Young women are taught that the vagina is like a “flower”, a term that although could romanticize the organ, it also portrays the vagina as an object that withers through coitus. Therefore, once the vagina is penetrated …

8 Essentials for Shark Week

I have a friend who announces her period on Facebook every month with a blood-related photo. It’s a ritual now to see her photo monthly to realize that ‘Shark Week’, as we call it among our group, is approaching. There is no science that proves that women’s cycles are synced, but, in personal experience, most of my friends get their period at the same time that I do. Coincidence? The verdict it still a mystery. Be it true or not, one thing is for sure: camaraderie and periods go hand in hand. PMS is better when you have friends to rant along with you because, what is better than hating patriarchy and mother nature with a crew of badass femmes? Furthermore, sharing is caring, so is the case with tampons, chocolate and romantic movies. So, what should you carry to help yourself and your friends feel better during this time? Here is the plan. Once you start that first pimple popping out and a minor cramp that feels like someone ripped your uterus open, head …

I Am Mine: Reclaiming the Vagina in Nymphomaniac Vol. I

The vagina is an enigma. Throughout history, religion has tried to hide it, politics have punished it and patriarchy has held it hostage. The rise of feminist movements in the 19th century began reclaiming ownership of the vagina, but even in the 21st century the word creates controversy and many women continue to restrain their sexual desires at the request of patriarchal regulations. But, the work of several artists has allowed for conversation to spark and has empowered females around the world to acknowledge their carnal rights. Such is the case of the film Nymphomaniac Vol. I. This work explores female sexuality and its intricacies, from the term vagina to the nature of sex and patriarchal constructions of femininity. Nymphomaniac Vol. I acts as a space for debate and acceptance that serves to understand that sexuality is as much a biological right for women as it is for men. Religious constructions One of the biggest sources of female oppression in our society is religion, specifically the faith of Christianity. Its foundations lie upon the belief …

Portraits of Badass

The word ‘badass’ has multiple connotations. Many associate it with superheroes; others only visualize a woman who can break someone’s face during a fight. But, during the inception of this website, I always envisioned the women around me. I have quite the group of friends. I call them the ambitious tribe, a collective of women who might not even know each other but influence who I am and contribute to each other’s lives without noticing. To me, that’s badass. Sisterhood is badass. Lifting each other, instead of competing, is badass. Yes, they appear to be wearing leather jackets and their expressions scream ‘Boss!’. But, there is a vulnerability to them because, no matter how put together we always try to appear on camera, our true selves always come out. What you see here is all of them reacting to one simple direction: be your own boss. Badass is being comfortable in your own skin and loving yourself. Or at least working on it. – Raiza Irizarry, 22 Badass, to me, is being a strong, independent, creative, …

File No. 8: Jhoni Jackson, Freelance Writer and Club 77 Co-Owner

Why did you decide to come to Puerto Rico? I was dating somebody who is actually one of the other owners with us. Then, we broke up, but we were already opening the club, so I stayed. It was kind of a big girl decision. We [the club] celebrated our 2 year anniversary in February and we broke up before we even started opening completely. What’s the story behind Club 77? We were talking about having a mid-sized venue because we have El Local, which is small, and we have La Respuesta, which is a bigger venue. But, in the middle, there wasn’t really anything. Also, we wanted to bring bands from the States to play. José is in Las Ardillas and he has toured a lot. Some bands come here on their own every once in a while, but it’s not typical for them to consider Puerto Rico as a stop in a tour. Our point was to fly certain bands out. Kristen [Fink] joined quickly after. She used to own Café 103. She was …

Beyoncé and the History of Female Rivalry

The Internet exploded on Saturday night when Beyoncé released her much anticipated visual album in the only way Bey can do it: on HBO. One of her songs seemed to reveal the truth behind the rumors that Jay Z had cheated on Beyoncé with designer Rachel Roy. I wasn’t familiar with the scandal, as what these three do with their sexual lives is none of my business. But, the Internet’s response to the revelation shocked me, as it exposed a nasty reality of our society. Rachel Roy was forced to make her Instagram account private after Beyoncé’s fans started bombarding her with threats. Jay Z was not made accountable in the media’s eyes. Beyoncé came out as the triumphant ex-victim who has capitalized on making her relationship a symbol of #CoupleGoals. It’s surprising to see such rivalry emerge surrounding an artist that has made herself an icon of 21st century feminism, which makes me question what type of feminism Beyoncé stands for and how much her fans have become part of it. There is a …