Saturday, June 30, 2012

Solitary Confinement: An Ecology of Cruelty

I’ve always had an overall negative impression of solitary confinement. In my book, it seems like cruel and usual punishment. Humans are wired to have social interaction. Without it, insanity can ensue (quite literally) and can facilitate a hostile psychological state.
I never quite knew the extent solitary confinement was used. The testimony provided by Dr. Haney really provided me with more factual evidence on the use of solitary confinement. It is being used more and more since its introduction in the 1970’s. Also, it runs on the basis of racial discrimination, with 90% of those confined being black. I think his analysis of the issue both indicates the psychological complexity behind solitary confinement, as well as the seemingly aloof attitude of law enforcement around the issue.
The immense occurrences of mental instability in those who are and have been solitary confined are unspeakable. The fact that much of the mental illness that occurs during the solitary confinement process shows the true nature of the practice. With this onset, I think it is reasonable to conclude how cruel it truly is. How can they justify such a practice? It is obvious by the symptoms and state’s of mind experienced by the prisoner’s including significantly increased negative attitudes irritability, aggression and even rage; many experience chronic insomnia, free floating anxiety, fear of impending emotional breakdowns, a loss of control, and panic  attacks(Haney, 10).
It was called in Haney’s paper an “ecology of cruelty” which I think reflects the true negative state of the environment created by solitary confinement. It forces prisoners into a mental state of anguish and insanity. The absence of meaningful social interaction (they are not even permitted visitors) has a massive psychological impact that is nothing less than cruel. The fact that this type of practice is permitted says something about our culture and legal system. We fight the convicted and label them villains, without a once of humanity or compassion given to them. It is truly unspeakable, what they are doing. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cause of the Week: HollaBack!

Hey guys and dolls! A new segment on my blog is going to be called "Cause of the Week" where I will feature a worthy cause/charity/non-profit that is doing awesome things in our world. If you have any suggestions of one I should feature, send me an email or comment below!

The Cause: HollaBack!
HollaBack! is a movement that is "dedicated to ending street harassment using mobile technology". People share their stories and use their voices to stop this from happening. Their goal is to change the culture that thrives on sexual harassment, shaming and negative attitudes. How many movies have you seen where a woman is insulted because guys aren't hollering at her (she feels they are not b/c she is too old, ugly, etc. Never because, you know, they are being decent human beings!). I think this example really illustrates just how woven into the culture this issue is. We as women are taught to not only expect to be harassed, but like it.

The approach they take is one of delegation. Basically, they train leaders that exist in many different cities and countries. Anyone can be a leader of a local HollaBack chapter! Each city that chooses to participate will have a group of 2-5 leaders that attend a sort of online training, to learn the basics of running an e-campaign, HollaBack and social media advocacy. After they "graduate" , they then run their own blog in connection with the main HollaBack website.

This is a great cause to get involved in and one I personally believe in ! For more information, please go to:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sex+ Questionnaire!

Hey all! I did this interesting questionnaire on sexuality yesterday, written by the lovely Laci Green. She is the hostess of Sex+, a web show which airs every Thursday on YouTube that discusses sexuality, relationships and social science topics in a fun, easy and critical matter. I LOVE her and her videos; you should definitely check her out! Here is the  link to her channel if you are interested in learning more!

On her blog a few months ago, she posted a questionnaire that explores your own personal sexual history. I loved the one she did, which can be found here. So, I decided I would do it too!

Here it is!

Sex+ Questionnaire For: Erin McKelle

Age: 17
Sex: Female
Location: Ohio
Sexual Awakenings
1. How did you learn about sex? Honestly, I don’t really remember. I know I had seen sex in the 
media and things of that nature, but I think my first real introduction was from a “just for girls” 
book I’d bought at Borders. There was a chapter all about sex and I remember reading and re-
reading it. And showing it to my friends at sleepovers. LOL!
2. Were you able to talk about sex with your parents? Not really. My parents weren’t open about 
sex. My mom is much cooler now though. But I never had a formal “talk”, I just learned from 
books. The only talks I did have were my mom saying “all men are pigs who want one thing”. 
Yeah…I had fabulous sex ed….LOL!
3. Do you remember your first kiss? Actually…I haven’t had it yet!
4. Tell us about an embarrassing moment you’ve had with your sexuality/partner/etc. Oh god…. 
Let’s see….I’d have to say when I belted out “Like a Virgin” at the end of the school day. I had 
no idea what a virgin was, luckily the teacher wasn’t around but all the boys were like “Erin, sing 
it again!” Pretty crazy.
5. How old were you when you made your sexual debut? Were you ready for it? Haven’t had it 
yet! I’m still waiting in the wings lol. It will most likely be when I’m 18. I feel ready.
6. Are you in a romantic or sexual relationship? Yessir. Romantical; we actually are long 
distance. Haven’t met him yet. But I’m in love! (We’ve been together 9 months)
7. Would you prefer being in a relationship or being single? Why? Relationship all the way! 
Being single is overrated! I love feeling loved and having a partner there to talk to, confide in, 
share love, be intimate. It just feels good, it makes me feel whole.
8. Would you ever consider a polyamorous relationship? I have in the past. I don’t think it’s for 
me though. I love just sharing an intimate bond with one special person who I give my heart too. 
My heart doesn’t split in 3 or 4!
9. Have you ever cheated on a partner? Yes…kind of. I didn’t consider it cheating but he did. 
It’s the guy I’m with now. He broke up with me for a while.
10. What was your longest relationship? Your shortest? Longest- my current one which is 9 
months. Shortest- a few hours 0-0.
11. What do you look for in a partner? Someone who is sensitive, thoughtful, attentive, smart, 
that can challenge me intellectually and push my boundaries. I want someone that makes me 
laugh and touches my heart. Someone who is strong and not afraid. Who is willing to give love 
everything they have.
12. Do you have any “deal breakers”? I think if they have children. That would have to be my 
deal breaker.
13. What is your favorite way to ask for consent? “Touch me baby J
14. What is your favorite position? Well…considering I’ve never had sex not sure. But from my 
reading/media consumption/knowledge? Missionary.
15. Would you/have you had a one night stand? Sort of. Online ones.
16. What’s your favorite place to be touched by a partner? Not sure :D
17. Is there anything that you’ve wanted to try sexually but haven’t (yet)? Like. Everything.
18. Would you/have you had group sex (3+ people)? No.
19. Would you/have you practiced BDSM? Nope.
20. Would you/have you done role-play? Yes, I would try it.
21. What is your biggest turn on? Intelligence
22. Biggest turn off? Immaturity.
23. How often do you masturbate? Hmm…it varies with my cycle. Usually about 2-4 times a week.
24. What do you think is the most erotic part of your body? My breasts.
Self Love
25. What’s your favorite thing about yourself? My love of learning and knowledge, my curiosity 
that is never fulfilled!
26. What’s your biggest accomplishment in the last 3 years? Hmmm….probably all of my social 
justice work.
27. Tell us one goal you have for yourself. To graduate from college in 4 years or less
28. How do you take care of yourself? Showers, thinking/clarity time, mani/pedi’s.
Hot Topics
29. Do you support a woman’s right to choose an abortion if she accidentally gets pregnant? 
30. Do you think prostitution should be legal? I do. We need to give social support to sex 
31. If you had a baby boy, would you have his foreskin removed (circumcise him)? Never. I want 
my child to be able to make his own decisions about his body.
32. Should same-sex marriage be legal? Yes. Why isn’t it yet?
33. Should comprehensive sex education be given in high schools or abstinence only? 
Comprehensive! Abstinence only not only doesn’t work, but is wasting tax payer money. It’s a 
fail all around.
To Infinity, and Beyond
34. What do you want to be when you grow up? Not sure. An activist, writer, artist, philosopher, 
creator…..something like that.
35. Do you want to get married? I do. Most definitely.  Hopefully to my current partner.
36. Do you want to have children? Not sure. Still sort of figuring that one out. As of right now 
37. What do you want to do for others before you die? Liberate, educate, alleviate pain and 
suffering, provide support.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bi-partisan Politics

      Hey dolls! Today I wanted to talk about bipartisanship in United States politics. It seems that as of the late, our government, our media and our communication has become so narrow in focus. You are either a Democrat or a Republican. A liberal or a conservative. A capitalist or socialist. There is no middle ground, and what little we do have left is seemingly breaking under the pressure.

       We are seeing this bipolarity rearing its ugly head in almost every facet of politics. In our legislation, campaigns, political parties, news coverage....everything is classified as "left" or "right". Identifying as a moderate is now seen as taking a "soft" stand on an issue. There is this enormous pressure to assert yourself in one direction and one direction only.

             I think that this is perpetuated by our media. On Facebook I see pages and groups for fierce and die heart members of the Democrat and Republican parties but never any that seek to expand conversation and dialogue between the two, or that take a different stance altogether! Our news sources, such as the Huffington Post, TownHall, and the Drudge Report feature only articles and stories that examine current events from their ideological perspective. You never see issues being examined critically or features that have opinions from both sides.

                       It is frustrating to see what used to be a system with a broad range of ideas and perspectives be compressed into two tiny boxes of fixed ideals. I feel that without an array of opinions, we are limiting ourselves. We are shunning people who refuse to take sides and not listening to a word they say. Our country cannot make progress if we have our fingers in our ears. That's the bottom line.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Hey all! Welcome to my blog! So excited to start this new project!
I think I'll start it off by telling you all a bit about myself....
So I'm Erin. I'm 17. A dual high school/college student (it's complicated, lol). A book nerd. A social science lover. A thinker. A volunteer. A social justice activist.
I am on a journey of self-discovery, and you are invited along for the ride! I have started to explore intellectual and social issues more critically for 3 years now. I study sociology and political science, in hopes to become a politician and non-profit worker. I am involved with many different organizations that have helped me along in my journey. A Rape Crisis Center. A Youth Engagement Agency. YouTube even! I want to understand the world, learn everything about it, and ultimately liberate it.
I'll get more personal as the journey goes on. Promise. But, now I want to explain how things are going to roll here.


I am open to any and all suggestions. If you want me to cover a topic, I sure as hell will. If you want me to talk with you about something, shoot me an email, I'll be happy to have a discussion.


I am going to TRY to post three times a week here, but don't hold me too that. 


This blog is going to feature posts that are about activism and social justice. Hence the title. The purpose is to create a broader awareness and understanding of cultural/social/political issues that effect us all. Most things here will be analyzed from a sociological, sex-positive, equalist, egalitarian, pro-choice, pro-women, pro-gay, pro-everything-that-doesn't-hurt-anyone perspective. 

Ok I think that about covers the first post. Check back her often for more goodies!