Model: Ashley Ellwood. Normally Ashley is a photographer, but to humor me and let me practice, she let me style her and photograph her. This is what I came up with.Read More »
Over the weekend , Tolga and I went on a customer appreciation trip to several ghost towns, sponsored by Land Rover, Las Vegas. Our job was to photograph.Read More »
I hesitated posting these because I worried what people would think since people my age don’t normally do this kind of thing.
“Don’t you call me a victim!” Robin Brown screamed on a recent episode of “Sister Wives” where I made a brief appearance. But she is oppressed, and neither she more any women in religiously-mandated patriarchal polygamy are free, no matter how much they try to defend their “lifestyle.”
These women are so afraid of the truth that they refuse to even dialogue with those women who have defected from such oppression. For some reason, the average member of the public cannot see this. No doubt a lot of your friends have been influenced by what they have seen on camera. I wish to tell them this:
You have been intentionally misled by money-hungry executives like those at Discovery Networks, who owns TLC, Investigation Discovery & The Oprah Channel, and have all delivered sanitized and dramatically altered media as “fact,” misrepresenting oppression & abuse as the choice of consenting adults. I’ll blog more about that later, believe me, I have a lot to say on that.
In 2009, Oprah Winfrey went inside the YFZ Ranch being run by the now-convicted pedophile and polygamist prophet Warren Jeffs. She had dinner with a polygamist family and painted a sympathetic picture of a group of people who were lying through their teeth.
On Monday’s show, Oprah goes inside the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, to talk with children, teens and parents directly affected by last year’s infamous raid. During this special hour, viewers will get an unprecedented look at what life is like behind the gates of the YFZ Ranch, including extraordinary access to the inner workings of the ranch, which until now has been completely off-limits to outsiders. Members of the Yearning for Zion community share a homemade dinner with Oprah and speak openly about their polygamist lifestyle and their imprisoned prophet, Warren Jeffs.
FLDS member Willie Jessops is on record too.
One of the most controversial claims made after the raid was that authorities found beds in the temple that were supposedly used for men to have sex with young women who had just married in the church. Willie says this is absolutely not true. “If they found it, would they have returned the children? What they found was a facility for a groundskeeper or for worship,” he says. “There is no religious ceremony that involves sex in any temple that I’m aware of or affiliated with.”
Below is an audio tape played for the jury during Warren Jeff’s last trial in Texas – explaining how there were 8 ladies that were to share in the “heavenly sessions” (orgies) that took place in the very bed in the temple that Willie Jessops said was not used for sex.
“Betty says she never heard talk that she might be married at 14, and she says she doesn’t know anyone who was forced to marry at a young age. ” Oprah furthered the misconception by saying, ”The message that I’m getting is there’s individual choice and every family is different.”
Now watch the video below, start at 1:20, and listen to Mike Watkiss bust Oprah for perpetrating a lie.
If you watched any of these TV shows that portray the smiling women in polygamy as simply “a matter of consenting adults,” then you will doubt that these people are oppressed. After all, Robin Brown went ballistic when Kristyn Decker – who came from the same polygamist sect and knows the inside story, started a sentence that Robin thought would end in the accusation that she is a victim of oppression or injustice.
4:50 Not that I’m aware of.
Not that I have ever seen.
Not that I have ever seen.
Not to our knowledge.
This is what much of America does not realize: People who are oppressed often do not even know it.
“It is better for the victims of injustice not to recognize themselves as such.” ~Paulo Freiro
In my last blog about this I mentioned how the Brown family, like most polygamist families, are separatists – evidenced by their refusal to come visit us for a photo shoot, or even have dinner with ex-plygs. To break bread or commune or dialogue with people who left their belief system was not even an option. It’s too dangerous, too “unsafe,” as Christine Brown put it on the show. Of course.
“The man or woman who proclaims devotion to the cause of liberation yet is unable to enter into communion with the people, whom he or she continues to regard as totally ignorant, is grievously self-deceived.” ~ Paulo Freire
Friere calls it sectarianism. This is my new favorite word. Polygamy sympathizers justify decriminalizing polygamy with the rationale that abuse is less likely to happen if people could live out in the open – is nothing more than oft-repeated propaganda that has never born fruit in the real world. These groups, like the AUB sect that the Brown’s are part of, separate themselves from “the world” anyway. They are sectarians.
By avoiding dialogue with “apostates” like me, or with others who have left their world for the real world, their minds remain blocked, uneducated, ignorant of their own oppression.
Here is another thought-provoking quote from Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
Fear of freedom, of which its possessor is not necessarily aware, makes him see ghosts. Such an individual is actually taking refuge in an attempt to achieve security, which he or she prefers to the risks of liberty.
- of religious group: relating to or involving relations between religious groups or denominations
- of single religious group: relating to, involved with, or devoted to a single religious group or denomination
- dogmatic and intolerant: rigidly adhering to a set of doctrines and intolerant of other views
Sectarianism, fed by fanaticism, is always castrating. Radicalization, nourished by a critical spirit, is always creative. Sectarianism mythicizes and thereby alienates; radicalization criticizes and thereby liberates. Radicalization involves increased commitment to the position one has chosen, and thus ever greater engagement in the effort to transform concrete, objective reality. Conversely, sectarianism, because it is mythicizing and irrational, turns reality into a false (and therefore unchangeable) “reality.” (P. 37
Sectarianism in any quarter is an obstacle to the emancipation of mankind. The rightist version thereof does not always, unfortunately, call forth its natural counterpart: radicalization of the revolutionary. Not infrequently, revolutionaries themselves become reactionary by falling into sectarianism in the process of responding to the sectarianism of the Right. This possibility, however, should not lead the radical to become a docile pawn of the elites. Engaged in the process of liberation, he or she cannot remain passive in the face of the oppressors violence.
The radical, committed to human liberation, does not become the prisoner of a “circle of certainty’ within which reality is also imprisoned. On the contrary, the more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can better transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into dialogue with them. (P. 6)
Compare those of us arguing against polygamy on the panel to the Brown family.
We wanted to hug and love and have a dialogue.
They were afraid.
Men and women rarely admit their fear of freedom openly, however, tending rather to camouflage it—sometimes unconsciously—by pre- senting themselves as defenders of freedom. They give their doubts and misgivings an air of profound sobriety, as befitting custodians of freedom. But they confuse freedom with the maintenance of the status quo; so that if (awakening) threatens to place that status quo in question, it thereby seems to constitute a threat to freedom itself. ~ Paulo Friero, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Who Was Paulo Friero
Dr. Paulo Freire was a Brazilian educator and philosopher who was a leading advocate of “liberation theory” and critical pedagogy which attempts to help students question and challenge posited “domination,” and to undermine the beliefs and practices that are alleged to dominate. SOURCE.
He is best known for his influential work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which is considered one of the foundational texts of the critical pedagogy movement.
Wikipedia: Freire is best known for his attack on what he called the “banking” concept of education, in which the student was viewed as an empty account to be filled by the teacher. He notes that “it transforms students into receiving objects. It attempts to control thinking and action, leads men and women to adjust to the world, and inhibits their creative power” (Freire, 1970, p. 77).
To enter into dialogue presupposes equality amongst participants. Each must trust the others; there must be mutual respect and love (care and commitment). Each one must question what he or she knows and realize that through dialogue existing thoughts will change and new knowledge will be created.
Culture of Silence
According to Freire, the system of dominant social relations creates a culture of silence that instills a negative, silenced and suppressed self-image into the oppressed. The learner must develop a critical consciousness in order to recognize that this culture of silence is created to oppress. Also, a culture of silence can cause the “dominated individuals [to] lose the means by which to critically respond to the culture that is forced on them by a dominant culture.”
The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion.
Reality which becomes oppressive results in the contradistinction of men as oppressors and oppressed. The latter, whose task it is to struggle for their liberation together with those who show true solidarity, must acquire a critical awareness of oppression through the praxis of this struggle. One of the gravest obstacles to the achievement of liberation is that oppressive reality absorbs those within it and thereby acts to submerge human beings consiousness.6 Functionally, oppression is domesticating. To no longer be prey to its force, one must emerge from it and turn upon it. This can be done only by means of the praxis: reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.
No pedagogy which is truly liberating can remain distant from the oppressed by treating them as unfortunates and by presenting for their emulation models from among the oppressors. The oppressed must be their own example in the struggle for their redemption. 54
It could not be otherwise. If the humanization of the oppressed signifies subversion, so also does their freedom; hence the necessity for constant control. And the more the oppressors control the op pressed, the more they change them into apparently inanimate “things.” This tendency of the oppressor consciousness to “in-ani mate” everything and everyone it encounters, in its eagerness to possess, unquestionably corresponds with a tendency to sadism.
The pleasure in complete domination over another person (or other animate creature) is the very essence of the sadistic drive. Another way of formulating the same thought is to say that the aim of sadism is to transform a man into a thing, something animate into something inanimate, since by complete and abso lute control the living loses one essential quality of life— freedom. (P.59)
The peasant begins to get courage to overcome his dependence when he realizes that he is dependent. Until then, he goes along with the boss and says “What can I do? I’m only a peasant.” (P. 14)
Critical pedagogy is not only a theory and a philosophy of education but also praxis-oriented social movement first described by Paulo Freire and after him developed by many others such as Henry Giroux as an “educational movement, guided by passion and principle, to help students develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies, and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive action.”
As long as their ambiguity persists, the oppressed are reluctant to resist, and totally lack confidence in themselves. They have a diffuse, magical belief in the invulnerability and power of the oppressor. (p. 21) The magical force of the landowners power holds particular sway in the rural areas. A sociologist friend of mine tells of a group of armed peasants in a Latin American country who recently took over a latifundium. For tactical reasons, they planned to hold the landowner as a hostage. But not one peasant had the courage to guard him; his very presence was terrifying. It is also possible that the act of opposing the boss provoked guilt feelings. In truth, the boss was “inside” them.
It is only when the oppressed find the oppressor out and become involved in the organized struggle for their liberation that they begin to believe in themselves. This discovery cannot be purely intellectual but must involve action; nor can it be limited to mere activism, but must include serious reflection: only then will it be a praxis.
(Paulo Freire defines praxis in Pedagogy of the Oppressed as “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.” Through praxis, oppressed people can acquire a critical awareness of their own condition, and, with their allies, struggle for liberation.)
Think of this in terms of polygamy. The women, children, and less-favored males are the oppressed.
The polygamous culture is a necrophilous culture. It revolves around the concepts and doctrines from those who are now dead, and continues to
Because banking education begins with a false understanding of men and women as objects, it cannot promote the development of what Fromm calls “biophily,” but instead produces its opposite: “necrophily.”
While life is characterized by growth in a structured, functional manner, the necrophilous person loves all that does not grow, all that is mechanical. The necrophilous person is driven by the desire to transform the organic into the inorganic, to approach life mechanically, as if all living persons were things. . . . Memory, rather than experience; having, rather than being, is what counts. The necrophilous person can relate to an object—a flower or a person—only if he possesses it; hence a threat to his possession is a threat to himself; if he loses possession he loses contact with the world. . . . He loves control, and in the act of controlling he kills life. (P. 4)
Oppression—overwhelming control—is necrophilic; it is nourished by love of death, not life. The banking concept of education, which serves the interests of oppression, is also necrophilic. Based on a mechanistic, static, naturalistic, spatialized view of conscious ness, it transforms students into receiving objects. It attempts to control thinking and action, leads women and men to adjust to the world, and inhibits their creative power.
Gathering essays from an array of professional journals, this volume introduces readers to the questions and concerns that shaped Martín-Baró’s thinking over several decades: the psychological dimensions of political repression, the impact of violence and trauma on child development and mental health, the use of psychology for political ends, religion as a tool of ideology, and defining the “real” and the “normal” under conditions of state-sponsored violence and oppression, among others. Though grounded in the harsh realities of civil conflict in Central America, these essays have broad relevance in a world where political and social turmoil determines the conditions of daily life for so many. In them we encounter Martín-Baró’s humane, impassioned voice, reaffirming the essential connections among mental health, human rights, and the struggle against injustice. His analysis of contemporary social problems, and of the failure of the social sciences to address those problems, permits us to understand not only the substance of his contribution to social thought but also his lifelong commitment to the campesinos of El Salvador.
The central concepts of liberation psychology include: concientización; realismo-crítico; de-ideologization; a social orientation; the preferential option for the oppressed majorities, and methodological eclecticism.
The intrinsic connectedness of the person’s experience and the sociopolitical structure is a fundamental tenant of liberation psychology and is referred to as concientización, a term introduced by the Brazilian educator Paolo Freire, roughly translatable as the raising of politico-social consciousness. In this process people become more conscious of themselves and their lives as structured by the social reality of oppression, understood structurally, and they thereby become social actors. They change as they begin to act on their social circumstances. Understanding this interconnectedness is of particular importance to understanding the experiences and psychology of oppressed peoples, the power structure to which they are subjugated, and the ways in which this subjugation manifests in their behavior and psychopathology.
Martín-Baró contended that theories should not define the problems to be explored, but that the problems generate their own theories. This idea is termed realismo-crítico. This is contrasted to the traditional approach of addressing problems based on preconceived theorization, idealismo-metodológico (methodological idealism). In realismo-crítico, theorization plays a supportive, but not fundamental, role. Martín-Baró’s idea of realism-crítico should not be equated with the work of Roy Bhaskar on critical realism. Although the two ideas are conceptually similar in some ways, they have distinct meanings (hence the use of the term here in Spanish, rather than attempting a direct translation).
Oppression is the systematic and pervasive mistreatment of individuals on the basis of their membership in various groups, which are disadvantaged by the institutionalized imbalances in social power in a particular society. Oppression includes both institutionalized or “normalized” mistreatment as well as instances of violence. It includes the invalidation, denial, or the non-recognition of the complete humanness (the goodness, uniqueness, smartness, powerfulness, etc.) of those who are members of the mistreated group.
Each group targeted by oppression inevitably “internalizes” the mistreatment and the misinformation about itself. The target group thus “mis-believes” about itself the same misinformation which pervades the social system. This “mis-believing” expresses itself in behavior and interactions between individual members of the target group which repeat the content of their oppression. Internalized oppression is always an involuntary reaction to the experience of oppression on the part of the target group.) To blame the target group in any way for having internalized the consequences of their oppression is itself an act of oppression.
The oppressors must also be willing to rethink their way of life and to examine their own role in the oppression if true liberation is to occur; “those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-examine themselves constantly” (Freire, 1970, p. 60).Read More »
Here are some photos of my work with females. I love feminine, fantasy & dramatic photography, as you will see.Read More »
Here are some photos we took of my friend Kristyn Decker, an escapee from the life of polygamy, but more importantly, a sweet, strong, and wonderful person.Read More »
Here are some photos we did of the stunningly gorgeous, sweet and sassy Kollene Snow.Read More »
Here is a modeling portfolio I put together for Willy Steed. (Actually, there are a few fun photos in here as well.)Read More »
Lola, my pop star daughter, was recently featured in yet another cool, hip magazine.Read More »
Here is a book cover I was honored to design for Kristyn Decker. We took the photos as well.Read More »
Here is a brochure I made for Louisa Voisine Millinery for her to take with her to her pre-Emmy event.Read More »
There was an article posted today in the SLTrib called - ‘Sister Wives’ episode draws fiery reaction, name calling .Read More »
A few months ago, I participated in a public debate on polygamy at UNLV with Kristyn Decker, Kollene Snow and Willy Steed. On the other side was the Brown family of TLC’s “Sister Wives” fame. Tonight, the episode is airing on TV.Read More »
Radiant Inc is an über-cool fashion magazine that just did a fashion editorial of Tolga’s work and included a feature about him as a photographer.Read More »
Here’s the new lyric video for “Bad Tattoo.” Pretty cool, check it out!Read More »
After two long years living the life of a missionary, my sweet baby son finally came home. It seemed like an eternity to me.Read More »
Our friend and (now) model Willy Steed, a former FLDS young man who escaped a life of polygamy and abuse, was featured on ABC’s 20/20 – and they credited us with helping him transform!Read More »
So Lola was featured on CBS – OMG! Insider, right after Entertainment Tonight! The host described Lola as “the woman behind Britney’s Spears’ new hit!”Read More »
What a happy piece of family news to report! My sister Pam married her best friend, Joe Afton,Read More »
Lola Blanc was featured in a really cool issue of Afterglow Magazine alongside other Hollywood IT girls like Janel Parrish, Audrey Kitching, Kerli, etc.Read More »
Britney Spears ‘ new single is off to a smurfin’ great start. “Ooh La La,”Read More »
Read More »
“With a sultriness very much like a young Rose McGowan, her cool voguish looks ensure this Greek Hottie is set for plenty of attention.” — Gorno
Read More »
“Los Angeles is full of people that look interesting as a profession, but sometimes the look is about all you get.”
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“Bold and lively, showcasing Lola’s saucy personality, ‘Bad Tattoo’ literally bulldozers it’s way through the pop mainstream and wins over attention with it’s über juicy beats and audaciously bright appeal.” ~ EQ Music Blog
There’s a new pop songstress in town: Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Lola Blanc is ready to make waves with her new single “Bad Tattoo,” which Idolator is excited to premiere.Read More »
It’s not everyday we get a new pop starlet ready to make an impact in a big way. Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Lola Blanc is preparing to do just that with the release of her new single “Bad Tattoo,” which premiered yesterday on Idolator. Produced by Jon Levine (Selena Gomez, Cher Lloyd, Nelly Furtado), “Bad Tattoo” is a edgy pop record packed with a pulsating dance beat, an earworm of a chorus, and Lola’s bold and feisty vocal.Read More »
This year I started an awareness and empowerment campaign called “Voices for Dignity,” and yes! we are making a difference!!Read More »
Lola was featured in an 80s-icon themed photo editorial in the new issue of Giuseppina Magazine. She channeled Siouxsie Sioux, Madonna, Angelyne, Annie Lennox, Nina Hagen, and a futuristic version of Cyndi Lauper.Read More »
LAS VEGAS, April 22, 2013, Christine Marie Katas, Founder of Technorazzi Magazine, Voices for Dignity, iMedia Candy and co-founder of Contagious Apps was named VIP of the Year by Worldwide Who’s Who for Excellence in Online Media. This special distinction honors individuals who have shown exceptional commitment to achieving personal and professional success, particularly in the digital world.Read More »
Before Britney Spears releases her in-the-works eighth studio album, the pop superstar will return with “Ooh La La,” a new song featured on the soundtrack to the “The Smurfs 2.”Read More »
We put together a fashion show and photography events with Land Rover Las Vegas. It was in the news.Read More »
Las Vegas Sun | 04-12-13 Land Rover Las Vegas will be hosting “Models For Mutts” which is a fashion runway show with several of Las Vegas’ top clothing designers to raise awareness for the Animal Foundation.Read More »
My son Tim was accepted into two of the schools he applied for to receive his Masters in International Comparative Education. After spending 3 years living and teaching in Venezuela, he was ready for the change.Read More »
I made these as a fun little way to help educate people about brainwashing, which is really just abusive psychological manipulation.
Brainwashing is just a nickname for a series of known psychological processes used to manipulate someone against their will. It’s unethical, traumatizing, and it literally changes what is happening in the brain – without the person realizing what is happening.Read More »
Even after all these years since “The Great Deception,” I am still learning how my heart, soul, brain, finances and life were hijacked by a monster, and yet I could not see him for what he was. In the beginning, my very first therapist suggested that I learn about “anti-social personality disorder” to help me be more safe in the future. Disclaiming that she was not diagnosing him, she showed me a list of the characteristics.Read More »
I am right now just off my knees from turning everything over to God tonight as I slay the biggest dragon of my life. So finally, I quite procrastinating, and I opened the Bible (which I haven’t read in ages because it triggers my PTSD) and just for fun I did one of those let-me-open-this-and-see-where-it lands in case something cool and relevant is on the page.
And I opened to Phillipians 1:27-30. Look how awesome and appropriate!!!!!!
27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God.
29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him
Sorry.Read More »
On January 17, 2013 at 3:00 in the afternoon, you might have caught a glimpse of a few celebrities on the courthouse steps in Salt Lake City, Utah. You might have even see me there too. I was the woman in red flanked by multiple husbands in matching frumpy white shirts, thanking God that I live in America, the land of the free.Read More »
Okay, Tolga took zillions of photos of our puppies who are quite the lively ones these days!! They decided to put all their toys on this colorful bed, then they chased each other around and tried to pester their mamma.Read More »
I recently went to Utah to take a stance against the decriminalization of polygamy. Did a couple press interviews, talked to reporters, and was mentioned in this City Weekly article.too. The exact blurb mentioning me is below:Read More »
A group of activists has organized a petition to oppose the decriminalization of polygamy.
Called “Stand Against Legalizing the Subjugation of Women Through Polygamy,” the petition is hosted by Change.org and as of Tuesday morning had been signed by 54 supporters.Read More »
Okay, here’s the latest buzz on Kandice, aka Lola. “Noctis Magazine is here tday to check in with the coolest up and coming pop star to hit our shores since Pink got the party started.”Read More »
These videos are from days gone by, but some of the ideas in here are still worth sharing I think.Read More »
This is my eccentric, artistic, alien genius geek husband, Tolga. See Tolga in action. Whether it’s developing software or producing music or doing high-end, creative fashion photography, Tolga is truly a great artist.Read More »
Here is a gallery of photos of me shot by Tolga in our studio pink room. I love the whole vintage /retro look, it is so me!Read More »
This year I asked my children to be resourceful and make something homemade for Christmas. That they did, and their gift, a homemade music video, was the most amazing,Read More »
This year we did something we have never done before. We went to a cabin in the mountains of Southern California and we had Christmas there in the snow! The cabin rental was an extraordinary gift, and itRead More »
The puppies are getting bigger every day. Here they are now interacting with their Mommy, so sweet!Read More »
This first 30 second video is just to show how they used to be. When you watch the 2nd video below, you will squeal at how adorable they have become! They sound like little gremlins, heheh.Read More »
Last night I watched a wonderful documentary on ABC’s 20/20 called “Breaking Polygamy.” I am a feminist and an activist for women’s rights, so I had previously written a piece to go along with a petition to sign, but I never launched it. I always worried that it wasn’t quite right, but today seems like a good day to put it online and see if I can get some quick feedback so we can get this party started. Here’s a clip, in case you missed it.Read More »