Category Archives: slut shaming

Stop Dominatrix Shaming

There’s a disturbing trend in critiques of the “BDSM Scene” to blame the dominatrix for ills and inequalities among the real players. Let’s cut right to the heart of why this is bullshit: sex workers live at the mercy of the state on top of being stigmatized. For those who care about consent, remember that this is a form of adult consent that the state says that you cannot make and that feminists say you must be mad or mindless or both to pursue and then society says that when you cross that river you can never really come back.

Sex workers not only lack the right to make a consensual transaction, sex workers are also denied their rights to justice in American courtrooms. This means all sex workers.Why can’t we go to the police? What the fuck good will it ever do for us? We don’t live in a Law and Order world where our glamorized dead bodies are sneered at and justice is seen as fetishizing the law even when it’s a whore. I’m going to illustrate with a story I obsessed over as it occurred. My favorite coverage came from the OC Weekly and starts off with this paragraph:

No one disputes that an on-duty Irvine police officer got an erection and ejaculated on a motorist during an early-morning traffic stop in Laguna Beach. The female driver reported it, DNA testing confirmed it and officer David Alex Park finally admitted it.

To really paint the picture, an officer of the law stalked this woman. It was such a problem that even his department told him to knock it the fuck off. On this night, he stalked her. He turned off his GPS in the patrol vehicle so the car wouldn’t record where he was. He waited until she was on a secluded road.

He was acquitted.

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Shocking Teen Orgies Ignite Widespread Mania!

I hate when there’s a sex panic about teenagers. Here’s one: ZOMG! THERE ARE SOME TEENS WHO HAVE HAD MULTI-PERSON SEX! 

This study was shocked, shocked! to discover that 7.3% of girls aged 14-20 have had MPS- multi person sex. It’s a study that also utterly fails to forget that there are very few places where teens can go and they tend to travel in groups. Teens don’t have the luxury of saying, “Your place or mine?” to one another when the feeling is right.

That’s not to say that this doesn’t come with problems. You know how it’s illegal to drink alcohol until you’re 21 in the US and yet most college students enter at age 18? You know how that started to create a little problem known as 19 year olds drinking to their deaths during hazing rituals? So, we suspend teens who send sexy or lewd text messages even outside of school hours. We withhold information about sex. We also strongly limit where teens can get together and blow off some steam.

Teenagers don’t have studio apartments. Maybe they have cars, all ages punk rock venues, hamburger stands, coffee shops, dances, parking lots, playgrounds, and their one friend who has parents vacationing in Europe. It’s not like teenagers invented the rule that you had to be 18 or sometimes even 21 to rent a hotel room.

We’re terrified of teens fucking. We’re terrified of teenagers in packs. In 2011 we’re terrified of teenagers fucking in packs. Who knows what next year will bring.

Multi person sex…sounds like the quintessential 1950s “lover’s lane” if you ask me. Maybe if I want to be a famous sociologist I can popularize the phrase, “episodes of vehicular exhibitionist indecency.” These spots were out of the way places where teens wouldn’t bother or be bothered by any meddlers while they engaged in their various mating rituals. Whether or not the researchers went to prom, I can only imagine that they’ve heard of this popular teen tradition of simulating the act of heterosexual marriage including consummation.

Isn’t there a scene in the original “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers” in which the alien invasion zapping the American-ness out of the city residents is evidenced by an entirely empty “lover’s lane?” The fact that there weren’t a bunch of cars full of young romantic couples in love out by the lake necking was a sign that shit was getting all kinds of fucked up.

Multi-person sex among teens is also known as, “DUDE! Steve’s parents are out of town and he has a heated swimming pool in his backyard! Party Friday night!” Are there hazards to this? Quite a few, most of which could be addressed by being realistic about the fact that teenagers are exploring themselves and adulthood. When we illegalize adolescence, we kill our youth. That’s what the statistics are showing us. Teens are doing something new. It’s the same old thing, the same old panic, and increased surveillance and criminal penalties.

The only way to survive being a teenager without getting yourself a record is to be rich or a child suddenly thrown into adulthood at 18 or 21 without any of the experience to handle what’s happening. It’s just frustrating to see muckraking masquerading as social science.

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Filed under activism, sciences, sexuality, slut shaming

Take Back The Night v. Slut Walk

In 1978, the first “Take Back the Night” March in the United States was held as a public demonstration against the connection between sexual violence, trafficking of women, and pornography. Thousands of women marched and chanted through a section of San Francisco heavily inhabited by purveyors of pornography, blocking traffic and access to these vendors. Today’s marches focus more on awareness, survivor healing, and wellness on college campuses and in communities rather than challenging oppressive practices by vendors. -“Take Back The Night” Event Handbook

Take Back The Night has a long history of encouraging the survivors of sexual violence to speak out about their experiences and to create a structure for those who want to see an end to sexual violence. It is also important to note that many TBTN events are working towards being more inclusive. Nevertheless, some passionate organizers of events who have moved for gender neutrality have had their concerns dismissed by feminist leaders as “impossible attempts to please everyone.” An organizer clearly stating that they were uncomfortable with having to police gender was told that there would always be criticisms of the event and to just let them go. Let’s be clear- gender policing is not the same as choosing a color scheme that everyone will appreciate, especially when it is often femininity that is attacked with violence rather than femaleness. Gender policing is a form of violence, by the way.

It is vital to support any and all victims of sexual violence, assault, and rape. It is also important to help promote the power of consent and to acknowledge firmly that sexual assault is not a man v. woman issue. There is such a thing as male privilege; there is also such a thing as mainstream feminist privilege.

I am very deeply uncomfortable with Take Back The Night despite its meager attempts to modernize and become inclusive. Although TBTN “no longer focuses on the oppressive practices” of the adult industry it has not denounced them.

Slut Walk is a model that picks up where TBTN has refused to go. Slut Walk Toronto has received its fair share of criticism and it has listened. At first the original organizers developed a model of “official satellite” slut walks but have decided that a hierarchical model would be less effective for its mission than a general collective. In lieu of a formal handbook and trademark, it states that the needs of each and every community are distinct and beyond the jurisdiction of a ruling body and represents many of the values that distinguish 2nd Wave Feminism from 3rd Wave Feminism. Many supporters of Slut Walk, like myself, may not even identify as feminists at all.

The word “slut” is contentious and the website acknowledges this and outright states that making use of the word “slut” may not work for every community. Is reclaiming “sluttiness” an extension of white privilege? Are the self-described “spinster aunts” of I Blame The Patriarchy right when they say that slut is an innately patriarchal word? (As a note, IBTP can go take a hike for referring to themselves as “aunties” here to help young misguided slutty women like myself.) I do worry about diversity within pro-sex and anti-oppression movements. I also worry about the fact that as an out and loud sex worker, my rights as an American have been more or less stripped from me. Sex Workers rarely receive justice for homicide committed against them let alone sexual assault. The mainstream feminist movement is in bed with right wing religious fundamentalists more concerned with eradicating offensive images than social justice.

Reclaiming the word “slut” is about the fact that no one has the right to dictate the right clothes to wear, what constitutes an appropriate sexual fantasy, how many partners one should have in the lifetime, or the type of media anyone should be allowed to consume.

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Filed under activism, community, culture, feminisms, opinion, politics, slut shaming

The Life Zone and Kenneth Del Vecchio

Right off the bat, since I have absolutely no regard for this film whatsoever I’m just going to go ahead and pass along the spoilers. Read at your own risk.

The writer of the film Kenneth DelVecchio is running for the state senate in New Jersey. He is very open about his pro-life stance. This movie is his baby. If you’re reading this in New Jersey I strongly urge you to take this post into consideration as you cast your ballot.

So here’s the plot twist: the three women all died on the operating table of their abortions in the first trimester. They are in purgatory and given another chance to make the right choice, atone for their sin, and enter the gates of heaven. The adamantly pro-choice victim deliberately attempts to miscarry at 7mos and experiences the joy of motherhood with twins. The other women also give birth after having accepted the notion of abortion as sin and ascend into heaven. The pro-choice victim is condemned to an eternity of pregnancy and childbirth without ever actually getting to be with her children. The other twist: the pro life doctor is actually a woman who committed suicide after her husband left her for a more fertile woman when she was unable to conceive. She’s being condemned to an eternity of midwifery.

So first off, we are still left with this image that the all-knowing, all-loving, merciful God is in fact, Jigsaw.

Not only is God judging you for your sins, he’s also setting you up. That’s right, the author of the universe is just fucking with you. God is incredibly sadistic and hateful to women it seems. Haha, you’re insecure about the infertility that I gave you? It drove you to despair and you chose suicide- now you will be delivering babies in the afterlife FOREVER! And you, little miss choosey, since all women will inevitably feel unimaginable joy when they deliver, even by force, a baby- you will be pregnant and delivering babies FOREVER! Babies that will be taken away from you!

Here’s the part that makes me really antsy. I noticed this comment left on the movie: “Hello all. I am one of the producers of this film and have read all of your comments. All I will say at this time is that this movie is a collaboration among people on all sides of the abortion issue, and people should see the movie before jumping to any conclusions. While the writer of the movie is a staunch pro-lifer, many of us who worked on this film are pro-choice and the arguments on both sides of the abortion issue are clearly and intelligently laid out in the film.” – Nace Naumoski.

Well, thing of it is Nace, the very format of this film makes it totally impossible to clearly and intelligently lay out any kind of pro-choice argument.

First off, you have to accept the idea that deaths during abortions are somehow common or at least an understandable premise. They aren’t. The very premise is fear mongering and a strategy of the pro-life movement. If you want to talk about risk of death, take a glance at maternal mortality rates.

Second problem: “It’ll be a 7 month abortion think tank.” Right, because the place we really ought to be having this debate is with pregnant women kidnapped from an abortion procedure and forced against their will by their captors to continue their pregnancy. You bring out the rational side of the debate with a pastor who calls himself “the jailer.” I’m no sociologist but I have to question whether or not Stockholm Syndrome might skew the findings there just a little bit.

Third problem: Suicide is considered to be a sin equal to abortion. There’s a lot to unpack in a statement like that. To address the mental health paradigm, this reiterates the idea that people choose suicide because they are weak. That’s total fucking bullshit. There is all kinds of stuff happening with mental health. All we know is how little we know. We’re all scratching our heads at the statistics showing us that placebos are more effective against depression than either prozac or prayer. The cultural paradigm that people choose suicide or that depression is a weakness of the soul is killing people. So we have a message that if you’re suffering from depression, you have fallen from God’s grace which is pretty damn archaic or the modern version in which you are advised to “talk to your pastor” about what you’re experiencing.

Religious authority figures generally come out of schools of divinity or schools of theology. These degrees are generally offered in the graduate and doctorate levels. Thing of it is, would anyone advise someone experiencing depression to call up a professor with a PhD in anthropology or history or literature to discuss the issues they are having with their mental health? There certainly are religious figures in all denominations who do have training and certification in counseling. It’s not, however, part of the packaged deal in the curriculum for an advanced degree in a study of religion. It’s just something to consider before blindly advising anyone that their religious authority figures are totally trained and prepared for mental health issues. If you want a therapist who comes from your religious background, you can find that. You can also find kink/poly/sex work aware professionals. You want to find a therapist that meets your needs, but you need to start with the “therapist” part of that sentence.

To get back to the point, considering this film to be somehow even-handed in the debate because the pro-life character is also condemned to an eternity in hell is a bizarre denial of reality. Killing off a character (or condemning them to hell, whatever) doesn’t change the debate about abortion itself. Especially not when the debate has already allowed stereotypes, generalizations, and information into the debate as legitimate arguments.

The most compelling argument about abortion for me has been this: I would no sooner force someone to surrender their body for the development of another human being than I would force someone who was a direct match for someone in need of organs or blood to donate them. For as long as I was allowed by the Red Cross standards for blood donors, I donated blood. I donated all the time. My driver’s license says “organ donor.” I believe that if you can, you should. I do not believe that you must. I believe you own your own body. Pregnancy and childbirth are exponentially more complex both physically and socially. Nevertheless, at no point should the government start mandating that everyone with an O- blood type line up at their nearest hospital because the patients have a right to life and need more blood to survive.

I’m really not kidding. There are way more people dying than there are people on organ donor lists, so if you’re a “right to life” sign waving motherfucker you should be trotting your sanctimonious assess down to the donor registry. If you believe that being capable of physically sustaining life with your own body mandates that you do so, you better be on a first name basis with the red cross phlebotomists.

This isn’t just a crappy movie and its problems number more than 3. The problem is that you cannot come up with any legislative reason why abortion should not be legal in the United States. Ultimately it comes down to a fuzzy intangible thing like faith but that cannot be the basis for law. Political ideology born out of morality is dangerous. If The Life Zone were an anomaly or just a shitty movie, it wouldn’t be an assessment of whether or not they would be a good politician. Just because someone makes shitty horror films does not automatically make them a bad politician. Most politicians don’t even know the first thing about making a horror film. Kenneth Del Vecchio is up front about his beliefs. They’re part of his campaign.  Here’s another one of his fine contributions to cinema:

Did you all see that? Now here’s this:

This begs the question: does anyone have a cocktail recipe for a drink that is mixed with tears of bitterness?

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Filed under activism, atheism, culture, feminisms, politics, sexuality, skepticism, slut shaming

“Fuck Saw” as a red herring: Northwestern University Sex Toy Demonstration

Northwestern University psychology Professor J. Michael Bailey’s human-sexuality course included an after-class optional demonstration that did involve sexuality, penetration, and orgasm. It’s creating a buzz around the web and in sex positive circles. Some are calling it “controversial” others are calling it a inappropriate use of university space. Even sex positive critics are questioning what the point of the demonstration was, exactly.

First off, I think the mainstream media is getting off on being able to say “Fuck Saw” in their article which actually makes the demonstration a little more interesting. In and of itself it’s irrelevant. No funds were directed to the demo, everyone consented including the audience, it was designed for anyone who had some spare time and was curious. My question about the hullaballo is around how the discourse of this demonstration would change if we stopped calling the device in question a “Fuck Saw” (its brand name) and called it a handheld motorized dildo.

Was the demonstration potentially pointless? Sure. Every single lecture I ever sat through in University was potentially pointless. You can only take away what you’re open to hearing and for a lot of people it might very well be important to see a fuck saw used on a woman because the only time a device like this is spoken about in academic circles is in an anti-porn context. Actually seeing that the fuck saw is not, in fact, a chain saw can literally change the entire context of the debate for someone. It wasn’t mandatory, it was there if you wanted to see it and participate in a discourse about it with the people involved. It seems to me that it’s a perfectly fine place for an optional demonstration of that nature.

Although people are incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of explicit sex in classroom, sex is a human activity worthy of critical study. When you recontextualize sex and put it in a lecture hall for the expressed purpose of dissecting it, theoretically and critically, it loses its erotic charge and becomes almost medicalized. We talk about “the male gaze” or the “female gaze” but there are also “academic gazes” and “medical gazes” and explicit sex is just as worthy of an intellectually focused gaze as a piece of art, architecture, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology, literature, et al. Universities study two things: nature and humanity. Sex is very much a part of both.

It looks to me like the media eroticized that demonstration more than anyone else in the room and that’s interesting.

 

[Edit: Maymay did an amazing wrap up of all the links along with some of his insightful commentary before me. How did I miss that? Click this link if you want to read more.]

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Anti-Porn Flowchart For Easy Essay Writing

How to upgrade your speaker fee in one simple lesson! (Click to enlarge)

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Save Lyon-Martin

A new 'do for a new year. Photo by Ned

Lyon-Martin Health Services has been an indispensable clinic here in the Bay Area since 1979. Sadly, they are facing closure unless they raise over $250,000. For those of you who have never benefited from the amazing services that Lyon-Martin provided, let me fill you in a bit.

As a culturally sensitive community clinic, Lyon-Martin has been a safe haven for queer women and transgender people. They provide a spectrum of services ranging from HIV testing, counseling, primary care, gynecologic care, transgender care, HIV+ care, breast health, and integrated behavioral health. They have provided care for little or no cost to make sure that those without funds do not go without care. Sadly, we have lost too many clinics in recent years. The Women’s Choice Clinic in Oakland closed its doors a few years ago limiting access to much needed services here in the Bay Area.

Those with alternative sexualities are welcome at Lyon-Martin. They don’t judge, they help support the health of the community. We cannot lose this resource. We cannot keep losing these resources.

There are so many ways to help support Lyon-Martin and we must do so quickly.

  • You can buy a sexy pin-up calendar full of sexy models and activists.
  • Send a donation via check to 1748 Market Street, Suite 201, San Francisco, CA 94102.
  • Make a donation over the phone by calling 415-901-7131.
  • Donate online.
  • Come out to an awesome event this Sunday in San Francisco! I’ll be there! Ain’t no party like an activist party, you know.
  • Check out the many efforts of the community to save the clinic here.
  • Start your own event or fundraiser! Host a house party, do a silly dance, do something. Lyon-Martin needs help and they need help now.
  • Show me your donation receipt and receive a free sexy 8.5 x 11 print from yours truly!

If you love the sexy things that we’re doing out here in the Bay Area, please help support an amazing clinic that helps keep us healthy.

 

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