Sunday, May 19, 2013

Balls and Pussies - A Linguistic Travesty

For at least a few decades now, and possibly longer, the phrase “grow a pair” has been defined as “man up”, “be strong”, and “screw your courage to the sticking place”. What you're supposed to grow a pair of, obviously, are testicles. When I was younger it seemed that this phrase was passed exclusively from male to male, and I would merely bide my time with a bemused expression on my face. It was a private joke between me, and the guys who were clearly trying to psych themselves up to do something beyond their comfort zone.

But recently I saw a tweet that stated “Balls. Don't be afraid to have a pair. #girlsmakingstrides”, and I realized that I had bided my time for long enough. I needed to clearly state somewhere the obvious problems with the whole balls-strength equivalency, because not only has this phrase been passed from woman to woman, it's something you can apparently hashtag to indicate feminist progression, and that's just stupid.

Let me preface this by saying that I'm a huge supporter of balls. Balls retract in the cold, dangle in the heat, and, in a fascinating personal detour of observation, encompass both the superficial characteristics of skin in both the young and elderly, phasing from wrinkled to smooth and back again in some hypnotic immortal time loop. Poetry and gushing fandom aside, balls, and testicles, are structurally unsound. Two dangling, soft fleshy sacks bouncing about in pants (with various degrees of restraint to that bounce, depending on what you wear to secure those testes); balls are weak.

Pussies, on the other hand, are fairly structurally sound. They do not generally dangle, preferring to stay secured within, and boy are they secure. Pussies have strong muscles inside of them, capable of delivering orgasms, cramps, and babies before lunch (but thankfully not at once). They have insane powers – one might say superpowers – for like Stretch Armstrong of yore they can grow mighty and big before snapping back into place, relatively unscathed. Generally speaking, you don't want to try that out with balls.

Balls can get injured in a multitude of ways. In MMA, there's a brief stoppage and a guy gets a full five minutes to recover when a direct hit to the testicles happens – and for good reason. Balls hurt a lot when they get hit, and a severe enough hit can do permanent damage. Heck, guys hurt their balls just by falling, but it takes a lot of ingenuity and bad luck for a woman to sustain pussy damage after a fall. There are the inevitable “get hit in the balls” jokes, which don't work nearly as well when a girl takes a shot to her pussy (unless the joke is about how hilarious it would be if it actually hurt a girl to get hit there). From personal experience, I'd say getting a hit to the pussy feels a lot like getting hit anywhere else where the bone is pretty close to the skin, with perhaps some sustained feeling around the clitoris that doesn't really feel bad per se, more like intense rough stimulation just happened there when you weren't ready for it. Pussies are survivors, and they take casual hits like champs – no five minute recovery necessary, but we'll take it to calm the little lady down, thank you.

However, to be a “pussy” is to be weak – as defined by current colloquialisms. How does that even make sense? Biologically, both pussies and balls are related to virility and reproduction, yet balls pulled away to the finish at the last second? Stuff and nonsense. This is merely sexist linguistics at play.

Every chance I get, I switch the terms. “What a pussy” becomes “what a balls”, and calling someone a “pussy” is a phrase of pure admiration at the sheer strength that individual possesses. Sometimes I slip up, and usually my friends – primarily the male ones – catch me on it and steer me on the right track. I have great friends. I'm hoping that my small efforts will catch on, and maybe in a century or so adults will have to explain to students reading books with phrases telling somebody to “grow a pair” that the author meant, well, to be strong. And that will seem ridiculous and incredulous to that room full of students, who know the obvious: balls are great, but pussies are stronger.

Want to make strides? Ladies, don't grow a pair, own that pussy. Be that pussy. That is one strong fucking pussy over there.

The rest is up to you.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Kinetic Art for Kids

This week I developed an easy, quick exercise to talk about kinetic art with the middle school kids I teach.  Kinetic art - to briefly explain - is the visual or artistic depiction of motion.  Using this exercise developed at Cool Stuff Art Gallery as inspiration, I had the kids listen to three different songs.  Each song had a different rhythm, instrumentation, and overall feel.  During each song, the child would draw a scribble on a piece of blank paper using a pencil, attempting to capture the motion of the song.  Afterwards, they picked the sketch that they wanted to focus on, and colored in different fields (using either pencil or watercolor pencil) that their quick drawings had created.

Some unanticipated side effects?  Quite a few of the kids ended up preferring the sketches they'd made while listening to songs that they didn't like (and which were a bit more experimental or challenging to listen to).  Almost universally, the sketches were wildly different from each other, and the students had no difficulty whatsoever with seeing a correlation between rhythm and line.

Neat stuff!  I made the above image in class along with them, and really like how it turned out.  Enjoy!