Leon with his father, Chemush, outside their home, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
On this blog I like to present different types of thought-provoking material, and this time I have chosen another poem that deserves your attention. More often than not, we are so consumed with our modern-day lives that anything from the past either, movies, radio, even books seem unnecessary because for some people they are not as relevant anymore. However, take a moment to enrich yourselves, and read this beautiful poem written by a man who had experienced Apartheid in South Africa, and his memory is that of a young boy surrounded by prejudice and apathy. He possesses a sense of humor and straightforward honesty throughout his recollections that make his experience all the more biting and relevant. Politics and policy intertwined with everyday life. “Snippets of Memory–A Work in Progress,” is a poem written by Leon Levinsky, my father. Read More
Light skin, light eyes, straight hair = perfection, so it seems.
How many of us have seen a commercial on television for a skin lightening wash used to lighten the genitals? If you live in India then you would nod your head, and acknowledge this phenomenon. It’s no secret that in many different societies there are certain beauty ideals that would make westerners raise an eyebrow, and under the same token those societies that we deem as holding the strangest ideals and beauty regimens would feel the same about us. Not many societies promote the look of stick-thin women with artificial looking beauty or consider such a look remotely appealing. However, as much as we already know about different beauty ideals from around the world, even the Indians’ preference for lighter skin, I still managed to feel surprised by something that I had read in an article posted by the BBC News Magazine about Indian women and their concern for fair skinned vaginas. Read More
This is the fabulous Veena in one of her poses
The last thing that most men want to hear from their wives is that they would like to go dancing with them. Fully aware of my husband’s aversion to dance, I nevertheless asked him to join me for swing dancing lessons a few years ago. There was the initial frown, as if I had spoken in a foreign language, and he could not understand; after repeating myself one more time, he shrugged his shoulders, scratched his head but surprisingly, he joined me. I’m not sure whether it was plain ignorance or his way of punishing me, but he always wore his Timberlands to our dance lessons—it made his hitch-kick quite cumbersome and painful to watch, but most of all it was uncomfortable for my poor shins. After realizing that he would not only be dancing with me, because the routine was such that we were made to switch partners all the time, he quit and that was the last time we ever danced together. No need for tissues, the way that my husband dances I’d rather dance alone any time.
Fast forward to a few days ago when I mentioned to my husband that I was going for a pole dancing lesson. Read More
When I read about the successful passage of yet another ban on gay marriage, this time in North Carolina, I couldn’t help but feel that I’m actually living in such a primitive age. For all of our accomplishments, this entire gay rights issue reeks of archaic reasoning. The absurdity of it all—still having to discuss gay marriage in this day and age—leaves me scratching my head most times. I immediately think of my roots (although there are plenty of other examples to draw from unfortunately,) specifically of my Jewish relatives who lived in Poland under the oppressive grip of The Pale of Settlement rule, banning them from most aspects of society; limiting and restricting their work and dwellings. A popular slogan used to be: “Christians buy only from Christians.” But see, this was not always the case, and what this has to do with my rant this morning is that it’s the people who hold a limited and skewed vision of the world who are to blame for writing such a horrid version of history for certain groups of people. Read More
Leon performing heart surgery.
On this blog I have taken the time to expound on the human body as seen and understood throughout the ages, mainly because I am in pursuit of accepting the aging process with a different set of eyes—a different perspective. I’ve already posted a poem written by my grandmother about aging, and today I’m posting a poem written by my father, Leon Levinsky, not so much about aging but very much about an aspect of it that I have not made my main focus. Heart disease is a problem that many experience at a certain stage of their life; there are so many ways to prevent heart disease from happening in the first place, and yet there is so much ignorance revolving around this important health topic. Read More
The bare shoulder, transmitting primeval sexual signals.
Once again I have turned to my favorite author, Desmond Morris, and his thoughts on the female body as described in his book titled, The naked woman. Why do we have shoulders in the first place? What’s been their purpose throughout our evolution? One thing’s for sure, shoulders were not meant to function in a sexual way; originally their function was as a foundation for our arms, but when our ancestors began to walk straight the shoulders became a lot more flexible, allowing us to rotate from side to side, shrug them, shake them, lift them up and down—all of which have significance in our daily communication with one another. Read More
Gertrude in her 20s.
When my grandmother Gertrude wrote her poems she did not think that they were anything special. She casually shoved the poems in the drawer, beneath her favorite bookshelf, and forgot about them. She had no idea that years later I would read those poems, and possibly find a measure of comfort in her words. “The Photograph” was written after a photo shoot that was conducted by one of my cousins. Apparently, granny did not like the results, nothing to do with the quality of the photos because Nicola’s work was remarkable—it was something else that bothered Gertrude. I don’t know whether to call it vanity or not, but it was obvious that she was unhappy with the way that she had aged. Gertrude had always told me that in her mind she had a totally different image of herself, that she had only seen herself as that nineteen-year-old that she used to be. With her eyes closed she never imagined one wrinkle, or an age spot; in her mind she still had raven black hair, smooth skin, and a long narrow frame. When she looked in the mirror she could no longer recognize herself. Nevertheless, one day she rediscovered those photos, and had a complete change of heart. Read More
Jerry Hall in a bathing suit that promotes genital grooming.
Before you rush to judgment, raise an eyebrow, or wrongly presume that this is a rather taboo or even pornographic essay, relax. I’ve promised to summarize parts of the book titled, The Naked Woman by Dennis Morris, and share with you some of my thoughts on his thorough interpretation of the female body, because knowing more about our body gives us the ability to better understand its functions. I feel particularly passionate about this information because I’ve made it my business to encourage women to better appreciate their looks, and view themselves in a more positive light when so many have felt discouraged and unattractive at times. It’s no surprise that they have felt this way when modern society has had a successful campaign against aging—ultimately rewriting the definition of beauty. They continuously promote the looks of youth, or the perpetual chase after one’s youthful appearance, as the preferred, more acceptable look. A fact that has rendered so many women disappointed with their looks. My mission is to educate and encourage women to accept and love themselves at any age, and any stage of their life. Previous blogs have discussed other body parts, so obviously the pubic region is no different and deserves a closer look as well.
So why do you have pubic hair in the first place? Read More
Too big? Too small?
Who hasn’t made comments about another woman’s buttocks, either stating that it’s huge, droopy, full of cellulite, too skinny, or flat . . . we’ve all done it.
Most women that I know are unhappy with their bodies, but especially with their buttocks. I’ve promised you that, in time, once I’ve shared with you interesting facts from a book titled, The Naked Woman by Desmond Morris—that you will have a different understanding and appreciation for your body. Truthfully, when I reached the buttocks chapter I thought that in no way will I change my mind about how I feel about my own bottom, but I was wrong. Read More
I thought that a monkey’s tongue would look more entertaining than a human tongue.
Once again I’ve decided to present my readers with more information about the body, based on everything that I’ve recently learned from a book by Andrew Morris titled, The Naked Woman. I love the way that Morris explains the biology of a certain body part, and then goes on to expand on cosmetic trends that it has undergone throughout the centuries. This always draws a reaction from me, and I hope that my own interpretations will serve to entertain you. Alright, let’s delve into the subject: In our mouths we have a tongue without which one cannot really talk, and if women ever lost their tongues, they would be “robbed of one of their supreme qualities,” says Morris. It’s not a sexist quip either, but rather an evolutionary fact that women are better able to communicate verbally than their male counterparts! Read More