Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sex Positive Parenting Is More Than Possible

If you're a parent & you listen to one Cult of Gracie radio show this year (and I don't know why you'd limit yourself to just one!), it should be this one: This Wednesday (November 12, from 9 to 10 PM Central time), the lovely Dr. Jane Vargas, of PantyMistress.com, returns to Cult of Gracie Radio with her sex positive feminist daughters, Rebecca of Porn Perspectives and Rachel aka the Pop Feminist.

You can read more at Sex-Kitten.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night Coverage ~ And You're Invited

You are invited to attend XXBN's Election Night Coverage.
When: November 4th, from 10 p.m. to Midnight (Eastern)

Where: On XXBN ~ listen live, talk in the chat room, & even be on-air!

Why: There's this little thing called a presidential election, as well as lots of local elections going on that night and we'll be bringing you the news, results and (fingers-crossed!) the laughs and sighs of relief. (If not we'll be crying, ranting, barfing... possibly renting U-Hauls to cross a border...)

Who: Along with you, of course, Gracie Passette & Jill Brenneman will play host to the always fabulous Nina Hartley, Jessie Daniels, and Prop K Proponent, Maxine Doogan ~ as well as a slew of other sex positive & liberal folks.

What: We'll be talking politics, propositions, and elections ~ on national and local levels.
Please join us ~ no need to RSVP, just be there.

Have something to say, pray, or, if you're really on a rant, spray? You can even join the show by calling in at 646.200.3136.

If you're looking for more info on Prop K, check out Amber Rhea's list of coverage & resources.

Image credits: Sadie Lune I Want You Poster Prop K Poster, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Who's All Joining The Cult This Fall?

Dr. Jane Vargas (of PantyMistress.com, X-traordinary Talk, and JaneVargas.com) was my very first Cult of Gracie guest. Jane rejoins The Cult this fall to discuss cross-dressing (CD) and so much more.

On October 29: Jane and I will discuss what being a cross dresser means (and what it doesn't), distinctions between lingerie fetishists and cross dressers, women's responses to CD, & how CD men cope with self-image.

On November 5: Jane on women and the underused but very powerful sexual expression of tease. (Don't forget to bring a mirror and wear your own slip, bra & panties to 'class' so you can practice *wink*)

On November 12: Jane returns with her daughters, Rebecca of www.pornperspectives.com and Rachel aka the Pop Feminist, to discuss raising intelligent, sex positive feminist, daughters. Her daughters will not sit idly by; they'll dish on the flip-side ~ growing up with Jane as a mom!

All shows are Wednesdays, from 9 to 10 PM Central time.

UPDATE:

Our apologies for the technical difficulties with tonight's (10/28/08) Cult of Gracie show with Dr. Jane Vargas. The show started late and I know that many of you were not able to get through on the air.

We will continue the cross dressing discussion with Jane next Wednesday, 11/05/08, a half hour earlier to try to accommodate you all. The show will begin at 8:30 pm central (9:30 pm eastern).

In attempts to alleviate any potential problems, please listen to the show, sign into chat, and await the announcement that the lines are open before calling in.

Again, we are very sorry for the issues with the show and hope you'll return next week to listen to & speak with Jane & I.

With much affection,
Gracie

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-15 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 16 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

  • Some Cities Will Be Safer in a Recession - BusinessWeek
    Other local economies, those dominated by stable industries, could be relatively well-cushioned. BusinessWeek.com worked with data from PolicyMap.com, a demographics and data site run by Philadelphia's Reinvestment Fund, to identify the best places to live during a recession. We looked at places where large portions of the population worked in anticyclical industries such as government, health care, education, agriculture, and legal services.
  • Blog Action Day: Poverty & Choice - Sex~Kitten.net
    Poverty is more than an economic line, it's a barrier to choice. And what's worse, at the root of all this evil is the false preaching & mean-spirited perpetuation of the stereotype that all poor women are dumb, loose, and morally bankrupt. No one can pretend they do not know the realties of being pregnant here in the US. No one can feign ignorance to the ties between parenting and poverty. Yet they willingly turn their blind-eyes, let moral-deafness protect their delicate ears, and continue to abuse the poor women and families of this country.
  • Fetish! Erotic Fiction By John Gordon - Sex~Kitten.net
    It is the mid-1960s and London is beginning to swing. Young Danny make a sudden and seemingly crazy decision to follow two very beautiful young women, drawn irresistibly by their very high, black leather boots and stunning looks! Soon he is welcomed enthusiastically into a deliciously uninhibited, shameless world. His fantasies about 'boots, leather, discipline' (and much else besides) become a thrilling reality topped with lashings of whipped cream.
  • Lingerie Games - Sex~Kitten.net
    A Slip of a Girl educates us about the entertainment value of tap pants.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Carnivals Make Me Happy

Hosting carnivals is a lot of work; those of you who have hosted them know the joys of reading so many articles & posts and selecting what you think is the best of the best, sometimes being criticized for your selections. And, if your carnival is based on serious issues (as opposed to cute cats or something), the process of hosting can also bring you down.

For example, when Mike hosted latest edition of Carnival of the Liberals (at Clashing Culture) this week he found himself a bit worn by the task, saying, "Doing the Carnival of the Liberals makes me grumpy, because I realize when reading the submissions that the world is not going to live up to my ideal no matter how I try."

But, he bucked-up and found what he calls the best ten posts "written by people who are trying to apply the brakes as we slide towards the bottom."

Overall, carnivals make me happy because they increase discussion and awareness ~ especially when the host makes the effort and takes the time to realize how important discussion & awareness are. So, I'd like to thank Mike, aka Tangled Up In Blue Guy, for including my post, What does the economic crisis mean for prostitutes?, in his carnival, putting issues of sex work into mainstream discussion.

On a related note, I just hosted the 10th edition of the Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy (at XXBN). Please read both carnivals and continue the discussions.

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Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-07 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 08 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-06 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 07 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-09-30 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 01 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Urban Outfitters Shelves Women

I wanted to do a quick Banned Books Week post ~ and eventually I will ~ but I got distracted by this pile of puke:



On the surface, a woman's tee which says "I Love Wild Things" may seem cute, but it's a real slice of pop culture misogyny pie.

You're likely surprised that a sex positive gal like me wouldn't be among the first to order such a tee, but, as Allison notes in Urban Outfitters Makes Me Cranky, this is the only t-shirt for women in Urban Outfitters "literary classics" line. While men get Jack Kerouac's On The Road and even a retro Reading Rainbow, we women get stuck with sexual innuendo replete with shades of pedophilia & bestiality.

And don't you dare try to defend this crap by saying that women can wear men's shirts; that's not the point. If ability to stuff yourself into a shirt were the issue, then why do have men's shirts and women's shirts? The point here is that they are marketing this one shirt to women but saving all the literature and bookish adoration to the more learned, smart, intellectual men. Or, they are selling these women's shirts to men, men who will give them as gifts to women, using the male fantasy of female sexual availability as the lure...

That's even worse.

I guess I'm just lucky I can understand the references on the men's shirts, let alone be able to read them... What with all the "loving" of "wild things" I must do, how'd I manage to read books?

Yeah, I know, I probably just need to be laid; then I won't take this all so seriously.

Seriously, WTF?

I guess Urban Outfitters thinks sexy for women equals females advertising their availability, not reading; which is a shame-shame-on-you, Urban Outfitters, because, as Allison also notes, Sarah Utter ~ and everyone else ~ knows that Reading Is Sexy, no matter who you are.



If all of this doesn't make you too upset to do anything but sputter (and I hear you!), why not see some examples of how we sexualize our daughters and sons with tees & other fashions too ~ guaranteed to make you boycott the mall.

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Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy

Edition #9 of the Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy is up and Sex-Kitten's very honored to have two posts selected by Radical Vixen, this edition's carnival host.

I'll be hosting the 10th Edition on October 6th at XXBN's blog ~ you can see what I'm looking for here.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

I Don't Care What You Say About Last Friday's Presidential Debates

Dear Internet, Pundits, & Reporters,

I don't care what you say about last Friday's presidential debates and here's why.

You keep talking about the "undecideds" as if they exist; they don't. There are people who don't care, but anyone with any political consciousness or belief in a failing system has already made up their mind.

Barring any huge acts, such as a gun-toting candidate opening fire on the public or changing their stance on choice, those who intend to vote already have their minds made up.

I take that back; for many voters a candidate can open fire upon anyone he so chooses ~ and without losing a vote, so long as his pro-life stance remains unchanged.

For too many of the people with whom I share an allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, the matter of voting comes down to one issue and one issue only: Pro-life.

Those people don't care about the people here now; they only (express) care for those who do not yet exist. Unborn babies-to-be have more legal & human rights than those of us who already exist here.

While some of us worry about the environment, wax on about human rights, wring our hands in frustration over what the financial bailout will mean for other issues already too long ignored, pro-life people can only mobilize and take action to support the fetal zombie, a pile of tissue which feeds off the body of the host until it matures and actually becomes someone.

Those people are so simplistic in their selection of candidate, so willing to forsake all other values for this one perception of conception, so Pavlovian in political response, that it seems anti-choice is actually the more accurate term for their over-all behaviors.

But I digress.

It's been a long hard road to the candidacy and we've heard about all that we're going to hear. Those of us who see the many issues this country is facing and are willing to examine the candidates on those multiple points have already made up their minds & designated their votes too. There are only those who don't care ~ or don't feel that they have any voice in what passes for the political process here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And only one candidate, Obama, seems to be trying to reach them.

Which is probably a good thing, because the rest of those preachy types who desire to regulate and control this nation, especially its women, with their own fundamentalist morality have already made up their minds to back the other candidate.

And no debate is going to change any of that.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Am The Hostess Goo Goo G'joob

I just hosted the 74th edition of Carnival of The Liberals, which was insanely full of excellent submissions; go & see.

Also, I'm pretty jazzed to be hosting Cult Of Gracie Radio tonight with guest Amber Rhea. (That's tonight from 9 to 10 pm central/Chicago time.) Hope to hear you there!

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Amber Rhea Joins The Cult

On Wednesday I'll be chatting with the pole dancing, sex positive feminist with a Bachelor's degree in linguistics and a Master's degree in internet technology ~ Amber Rhea.

Amber is also co-founder of the Georgia Podcast Network, co-host of the award-winning podcast Mostly ITP (which focuses on people and issues in Atlanta), main organizer of PodCamp Atlanta 2007, & organizer of Sex 2.0, an 'unconference' focused on the intersection of social media, feminism, and sexuality.

One of the things that impresses me most about Amber is that she gets sex work ~ despite never having worked 'the game', despite being 'young' and not a crone. She truly has wisdom beyond her years.

You can join the raunchy-fun and the ranty-goodness on Cult of Gracie Radio at 9 p.m. central ~ listen live, hang out in the chat room, and call in at 646.200.3136.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Carnival Of The Liberals

I'm hosting the next Carnival of the Liberals, on September 24th, at XXBN's Blog ~ please submit something grande!

You can check the last edition of the carnival at Redonkulous Redundancy.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mad Kane Joins The Cult Of Gracie

Tonight, on Cult of Gracie Radio, at 9 pm central, the special guest is Mad Kane.

I met Madeleine Begun Kane when I hosted the Carnival of The Liberals and became so smitten with her and her funny (but true) comments on politics & current events, that I had to have her on the show.

Who says feminists aren't funny? Mad Kane is funny as heck ~ and I'm not the only one saying so ~ Bob Newhart recently announced her the winner of the 2008 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor.

You can find out more about her & the show at XXBN

As always, you can participate in the show by calling in at 646.200.3136.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-09-05 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 06 Sep 2008 12:00 AM CDT

  • Gloria's Oversexed Mind: SFP STFU
    I've never made a big deal out of my feminism. Although I was raised in a time when many, if not most, women were still being pushed to embrace the "pregnant and barefoot" model of femininity-- or, in more urban and middle-class homes, the "wife, mother and homemaker" model -- I was raised in a family which believed, unquestionably, that men and women were equals. My parents always assumed that I would pursue a college education and have a profession of some kind. When I encountered people who thought women were somehow less than men, or that men by right had authority over women, I was surprised: they struck me as nutty Neanderthals with antediluvian politics, not unlike those weird white people in the South who actually seemed to believe they were better than blacks. When I was a kid, I marveled at the existence of such people: where did they come from and what were they doing in my beautiful America?

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-09-03 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 04 Sep 2008 12:00 AM CDT

  • Sociological Images » “THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE… A GIFT ADAPTED TO YOUR BEAUTY CONCERNS”
    In the contemporary U.S., the feminist movement has been so thoroughly intertwined with the pro-choice movement that the rhetoric of choice has become a common way to talk, more generally, about women's liberation. And women's liberation, as we have demonstrated... is frequently co-opted for the purposes of selling women all sorts of products (including those in decided conflict with mainstream feminism, like this one and this one).

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Convention Time, So...

Abortion is in the air, or it should be.

The right to have, the very right to make the choice, is a very important issue. It's tied to more than (perceived promiscuous) human sexuality; it's a matter of health, an education issue, and a freakin' human rights issue.

As DeeDee wrote, "The right to choose [is] about more than abortion; not having the right to choose undermines all our choices and our right to live autonomous lives."

Read it and see why; I'm going to take another argument.

When the religious wrong say they want to legislate their beliefs in the name of religious freedom, they are doing the opposite; they enforce their faith on others.

What's more, we don't make our laws based on spiritual practices, especially those which are speculative.

While it should be enough to say that that a fetus isn't an individual being with rights simply because it isn't an individual being, only kept alive by the host (pregnant woman), it apparently isn't. While it should be enough to argue that they cannot prove any claims to "soul" or other "godly" part or intervention, it isn't. The religious oppressors want to us to follow be forced to believe as they do ~ and like intelligent design, we are supposed to buy it not only just on their word but against all scientific proof and reason. They think that their 'word' is 'law' and so it should be my word and The Law. But we don't legislate that way. At least we aren't supposed to.

An example of how we don't fall for such silliness is illustrated in the eating of pigs. The eating of pig meat is (in some religions) a sin; but there is no law making it illegal for me to eat it. Many are wise enough to not legislate the eating of pig, but rather relax in the belief that my punishment awaits me in the afterlife. That's real faith, waiting for that day when the supreme being of that faith will handle things.

The message to not eat pig meat, along with your pro-life message, is out there; I've heard them loud and clear ~ but I just don't buy 'em. So let me make my own choice; I'll be the one to live (or "spend eternity") with the consequences. Leave the law out of it.

"But, Gracie," you whine, "A pig isn't a baby!"

Damn right it isn't.

Eating a pig, even including cooking it, doesn't force a person to serve the same time as pregnancy, let alone the time and dangers of childbearing & child rearing. Yes, I said "dangers." Science, if you care to believe in facts, proves that the eating of pig-flesh has little-to-no physical dangers, especially when compared to pregnancy & childbirth.

And the real point here is that you can't legally stop me from eating pork because the only problem with it is that your 'good book' says there is a problem ~ and that's not enough to warrant any legislation.

If you're thinking this all supports your theory that pregnancy, the fetus, i.e. 'the baby', must be protected, I'm going to accuse of the same supersedence DeeDee did. What makes you presume that the unborn have greater rights than those already here? It's that sort of stupid thinking that got us Israel & into the mess in the Middle East.

Whatever happened to "one in the hand is worth two in the bush"? Don't the living matter? We're here. Now. But you'd rather focus on the fetus & what it might do. We don't legislate & prosecute "mights".

I'm here. I have rights. Or at least I'm supposed to.

Already you deny my freedom, dismiss my need for health care, reject my financial equality & limit means to support myself, and in doing so, remove my autonomy. (You might want to think about those issues and wonder just how much they impact my decision not to have a child.) And now I'm supposed to turn my body over as a host for something or someone you believe in?

And that reminds me, along with your belief in 'the baby', where's your concern for it once it arrives? Where's its health care? Where's its stable home, future financial independence &/or equality? What of its freedom & equality?

I guess in that (lack of) respect, the unborn & I have the same value.

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Hillary Clinton, Class All The Way

Hillary, I love you.

From her convention speech:
I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.

This won't be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don't fight to put a Democrat in the White House.

We need to elect Barack Obama
As if I wasn't already emotional... & eating comfort food. The following had me weeping ~ my heart (and tummy) so heavy, so full...
I'm a United States Senator because in 1848 a group of courageous women and a few brave men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights, to participate in the first convention on women's rights in our history.

And so dawned a struggle for the right to vote that would last 72 years, handed down by mother to daughter to granddaughter - and a few sons and grandsons along the way.

These women and men looked into their daughters' eyes, imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment. To brave violence and jail.

And after so many decades - 88 years ago on this very day - the 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote would be forever enshrined in our Constitution.

My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for President.

This is the story of America. Of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

How do we give this country back to them?

By following the example of a brave New Yorker , a woman who risked her life to shepherd slaves along the Underground Railroad.

And on that path to freedom, Harriett Tubman had one piece of advice.

If you hear the dogs, keep going.

If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

If they're shouting after you, keep going.

Don't ever stop. Keep going.

If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.

I've seen it in you. I've seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military - you always keep going.

We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.
Just to be clear, I will be voting for Obama.

But I still wish she was the Democrat candidate. And I still don't understand why she's not on the ticket.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Feminist Blogger?

Jessie Daniels, PhD is starting "an interview project with bloggers who identify as 'feminist,' however they define that term." Are you one? Then participate in this survey.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Birth Control Is NOT Abortion, Assholes

Too lazy to type up more than this ~ and it will be cross-posted "everywhere" ~ but I just signed the emergency message to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, whose department is considering this stuoopid rule change and here's the quick cut & paste letter to forward:
Subject: Contraception is abortion?

Hi,

I had to share something with you. Can you imagine living in a place where birth control is considered an "abortion" and health insurers won't cover it? Where even rape victims are denied emergency contraception?

It seems unbelievable, but the Bush Administration is quietly trying to redefine "abortion" to include birth control. The Houston Chronicle says this could wipe out dozens of state laws that protect women's reproductive freedom and protect rape victims. And this proposed "rule change" doesn't need congressional approval.

I just signed a message to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, whose department is considering this rule change, telling him: "Contraception is NOT abortion." Can you add your voice to this cause? Click here to sign the message: http://pol.moveon.org/contraception/?r_by=-9950595-JRzmsAx&rc=paste

Thanks!
Sign it, or suffer the horrors.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Nina Hartley Joins The Cult ~ Of Gracie

This week, Wednesday, August 13th at 9 PM (central), on Cult of Gracie Radio I'm interviewing the lovely Nina Hartley.

(If you know little about Hartley, you can get some basic info on her tremendous career here at the XXBN blog.)

I'm a huge fan of Nina Hartley's ~ something she must know by now in the few telephone conversations we've had scheduling the show. I'm impressed with her valiant advocacy as a leader in the sex positivity movement. Her history as a sex positive feminist includes:

* Founding the the Feminist Anti-Censorship Task Force, known as FACT.

* Starting the Pink Ladies Social Club, a club which supports women (performers, writers, makeup artists, directors etc.) who works in the adult industry and works to fight the stereotype of female sex workers as bimbos &/or victims coerced by men into humiliating themselves.

* Being a member of the Board of Directors for the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, an organization that works to advance sexual freedom as a fundamental human right by protecting and advancing freedom of speech and sexual expression), but with her wisdom in faith and religion.

Hartley is also to be acknowledged for her wisdom in other areas, such as faith and religion. Here's a bit from Sheldon Ranz's interview with her in Shmate: A Magazine of Progressive Jewish Thought, Issue #22, Spring 1989, pp. 15 - 29.
SHELDON: How do you feel today about being Jewish?

NINA: I feel very lucky. I believe very strongly in the heritage of Jews as educators. I feel very strongly of the fact that if it wasn't for the Jews, half the world would still be illiterate. Along with the Diaspora -- the spreading of Jews all over the world -- came the spreading of reading and writing all over the world. I'm extremely proud of my people's contribution to world knowledge. Certainly, the basis of Judaism, in questioning and analyzing, has stood well. I would like to know about Jewish religion as history....but as an atheist, I see no reason to practice any religion -- Judaism, Christianity, any religion -- because it is organized superstition and it certainly is the opiate of the masses. There's no doubt about that in my mind. As history, in the history of the world, Jewish history is very important.
You can listen to the show live here. (If you missed the show, the same link will let you listen to the archived show & download the podcast.) As always, live on-air calls will be taken at 1.646.200.3136.

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Friday, August 1, 2008

It's Not The Number Of Hats...

Writing and blogging at so many sites, having so many projects, it's an awesome mind-f*** some days. Who am I? Where am I? OK, so I always know who I am; but let's be honest, I have a life, duties and several gigs outside of being Gracie Passette.

Gracie is not a persona; but once a sex worker, even if not always a sex worker, you'll either always have a double-life issue or end up simply denying your past. I can't, won't, do the latter; but often I have to compartmentalize my own life into "sex worker" and "non sex worker".

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that much of my life is spent censoring those experiences for the safety of myself and others. Most of my energy, however, is spent trying to diffuse the essence of me into palatable chunks for others ~ and trying to find peace with that.

My thoughts, attitudes and beliefs have been shaped by my experiences, naturally. But unnaturally, I am often unable to defend my passionate stance with evidence because it would be troublesome. It makes for a weak argument, even a weak conversation; so on those occasions I avoid such conversations.

Such muzzling is a choice to protect those in my circle who could be hurt because of my actions. Such consideration & respect for others has little reward other than the self-knowledge that I've taken one for the team. Such love and respect, however, feels disrespectful to myself. I know why I do it; but chafe at the notion that I should have to. Murder and violence are more acceptable than any intimate transaction I've ever had, personal or professional. And I find that more horrific than I can express today (without getting too far astray).

Sometimes I envy those who have one blog/site/project. All the sides of themselves (that they care to share) are in one place; mine are compartmentalized into an array of blogs/sites/projects. It's not just the marketer in me (who, because she's been busy marketing, has had little time to post her thoughts on the process) which arranged things that way; the anthropologist in me knows that such organization is needed for those who are far more able (or willing) to compartmentalize themselves that way.

While I cannot separate my thoughts on human sexuality from my politics, my feminism from my spirituality, my business smarts from my knowledge of what is human in society, many folks prefer such things.

Cult of Gracie started because some regular columnists at Sex Kitten were less than comfortable discussing politics &/or religion at the site. Fearing my strident and opinionated views would be the only views presented & therefore somehow (mistakenly) attributed to "all Sex Kittens", I moved them to their own home. People in the adult industry don't want to dig through erotica, sex how-tos, and personal narratives regarding sex to get to the marketing tips ~ even though such discussion could very well help their business. (Conversely, the people who read erotica, sex how-tos, and personal narratives regarding sex, would be wise to know how their consumer rights are diminished, threatened, and their minds, perhaps, manipulated.) Etc. etc. etc. (And when I work for/with other groups, my own personal views may need to be expressed elsewhere so that I am not appearing to speak for the group ~ or become a space hog with my constant blitherings.)

Because others desire such compartmentalization, even the ability to be linked to by others is affected. Many who link to this blog or to Marketing Whore would not, could not, link to Sex Kitten. Which really is rather absurd when you realize that all the sites have credibility simply because of who I am, what I've done, what I've learned from my experiences, and, most definitely, the opinions I've gleaned from synthesizing it all. But the fact remains: People prefer things neatly compartmentalized.

These are all very practical choices. Choices, like those to remain silent to protect family & friends from bad things & thoughts, I consciously made. But there are days...

Days when I loathe it all. Loathe myself for doing it.

It's not (just) the number of hats vs. time (for that is worth mentioning), but the dilution or diffusion of myself which I despise.

I am not, nor ever will be, as simple as any blog header or columnist profile may suggest.

And my professional Gracie Passette resume isn't even all of me.

When I think of this, I tell myself that many people have the same problem ~ to some degree or other. And just when you'd think that would end my pity party...

It only makes it worse.

I see how women especially live lives in tiny little boxes, keeping or presenting neat & clean versions of themselves to protect and serve others, never really being able to show all their sides ~ letting them reflect upon themselves and upon their own inner light as one big sparkling, multifaceted diamond.

My aversion to such dimming-down of women was largely a part of why I started SK; we shouldn't have to hide/repress/deny the reality of our sexual selves ~ not to be a good daughter, wife, mommy, employee, consumer, or citizen. We are who we are ~ every last bit of it. And we should not have to deny ourselves that.

On days like today, I feel that I am doing just that. I can call it "practical", "considerate", "savvy", "appropriate", or whatever else I like... But I still feel like a hypocrite.

It's not the number of hats I own or even wear; it's that I don't acknowledge them all. Each remains cloistered in a place, a costume, a situation... Relegated, not celebrated.

There are enough valid constraints to me being who I am. Just being a woman in this country which, while it celebrates its self-proclaimed liberation of women in Iraq, denies me & my sisters adequate health access, fundamental rights to control our own bodies, and true equality should be enough to make me stand up and scream, "I am who I am! Every last bit of me!"

But instead, I find myself folding, compartmentalizing, dividing, diluting, diffusing myself... When does trying to stay neat & tidy for the sake of others go from practical & considerate to undermining & abusive?

If I cannot wear all my hats at the same time (to try to do so would be spiteful and as uncomfortable as it is impractical), how do I manage to show them all off?

Or is this all rather like asking how to be a polite activist.

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High-Five Friday

High-Five Fridays is on official hiatus; but you can still participate.

#1 Mad Kane gets a letter from Bob Newhart stating she's the winner of the 2008 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor Competition.

I used to get letters from Ed McMahon saying I may already have been a winner ~ but even he doesn't write anymore, what with losing his house and all. I do still get many letters from prison; but I'm waiting to write more about that another time. So just enjoy Mad Kane and celebrate with her.

#2 GrrlScientist shocks and awes with A Handmaid's Tale Could Become Fact Instead of Fiction:

I find it astonishing that the federal government could regulate health care and reproductive choices based on a popularity contest!

(Hasn't this been a problem for awhile now? Even if this issue is too confusing for you ~ and "women's issues" generally create panic ~ look at evolution in schools.)
Since it is impossible to determine whether an egg has been fertilized, this means that a woman can never prove that she is not pregnant. As a result, it will be legal to block women's access to a tremendous variety of health services, treatments and medications under the guise that they "might possibly cause abortion."
Arrrgggggg!

#3 Dear Amber Rhea; I just love her. Here's one of her latest gems: Another kind of double standard.
“Just” sexually progressive? Oh lord…
#4 Elizabeth on Running Like A Girl:
"You run like a girl." It was an insult aimed at boys. Being "like a girl" was clearly a bad thing for a boy to be if he wanted to be an athlete. Not being enough "like a girl" on the other hand, is devastating for women.
#5 Last, but certainly not least, a huge high-five to Ivonne Lorena García the model in and photographer of the photos used for the XXBN blog header, buttons etc. She is known as shecomesincolors at DeviantArt and as Miss Pepper! at Flickr. You can buy prints of her works in her DeviantArt print shop ~ until I talk her into another sales option with larger sizes and more offerings. *wink* I can't thank her enough.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Call For Liberal (And Progressive) Posts

Just a reminder that while shit happens, life continues on...

I'm hosting Carnival of the Liberals on the 30th. So send your posts in before the 29th, yah?

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Good SPARKs

Just found this info on what SPARK (formerly Georgians for Choice) has been doing in response to Operative Save America being in their town over at Amber Rhea's:

Wednesday July 16th: Our Bodies, Our Lives!

  • 9 am protest at Woodruff Park 84 Peachtree St. Bring your signs.
  • 6-7:30 pm SisterSong panel: Women of Color and Abortion. Aderhold Learning Center at Georgia State University (60 Luckie St).

Thursday July 17th: RJ is Sexy! Positive Sexuality Matters!

  • 9 am sex positive protest at Woodruff Park 84 Peachtree St. Bring your signs and we’ll have some cardboard poetry.
  • 6-9 pm Movie Night at Georgia State University. Library South 8th Floor Colloquium Room (100 Decatur St).

Friday July 18th: Act Up for Reproductive Justice!

  • 9 am Last day for banner drops and sign shaking before we bid farewell to OSA. Woodruff Park 84 Peachtree St.
  • 5-7 pm Protest at Colony Square (1197 Peachtree St) 404-879-2250.

Saturday July 19th: Goodbye OSA! Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out!

  • 9 am Carpool from SPARK at 743 Virginia Ave or meet at Denny’s at 5534 Jimmy Carter Blvd. Bring your signs as we say goodbye to OSA.
  • After the farewell we’ll have a community celebration picnic at Best Friend Park at 6224 Jimmy Carter Blvd near their hotel. Yum.

Contact: Paris: 404-917-7694, Amanda: 770-375-5920, SPARK: 404-532-0022, www.SPARKRJ.org

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio with Dr. Michael Goodyear

Tomorrow, June 11 (at 9 p.m. central), Cult of Gracie Radio has Dr. Michael Goodyear, MD, PhD, as the guest.

An Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Canada's Dalhousie University, his main focus there is in responsible human research governance, particularly the ethical aspects of research. His active interest in issues of women's health have lead him to a longstanding involvement in women's health and studies (including family planning, social justice and ethics), and the problems associated with those on the margins of society.

No wonder then that he would become interested in the issues & myths surrounding sex work.

Well-versed in the research, as well as the ethics and methodology of research, Michael's put his skills and knowledge to use in identifying social determinants of marginalization and speaking out both for decriminalization and against the myths of sex work.

An avid supporter of sex workers' rights, Michael moves past academia, actively seeking out & speaking out.

He speaks directly to the matter of why decriminalizing sex work, especially that at the street level, is a feminist issue:
Public health measures must be built on evidence based best practice. Only by moving sex work outside of the criminal justice system, focussing on public health and social care, can we achieve this and help to break the cycle of violence. Criminalisation of sex work that limits access to care contravenes UN guidelines on human rights.

Remedies for social issues surrounding prostitution lie not in legislative measures but in social determinants such as wage disparity and access to welfare that limit women’s choices. Labour politicians frequently state that the moral fibre of a society must be judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable members, yet their policy discriminates against the most disadvantaged.
Michael Goodyear speaks on the inaccuracies of sexually transmitted infections in sex work (found via Dr Petra Boynton):
Unfortunately the discourse in public health, and in particular that concerning services to individuals involved in commercial sex, are more likely to be informed by opinion than by evidence. In addition repeated exposure to messages reinforces and polarizes previously held prejudices.
And he speaks sanely regarding an issue that drives me insane ~ the perpetuation of myths:
It is unfortunate that the Gazette insists on repeating tired myths about sex work, without checking its facts. This is a very unbalanced article. The German World Cup story has now made its way into the archives of urban myths. Even anti-trafficking organisations such as Prevent Human Trafficking are expressing concern about the constant reporting of untruths. "It seems that this estimate originated with unsubstantiated statements made by a few antitrafficking groups which, though they have no basis in reality, have somehow gained legitimacy through repetition".
This includes challenging Melissa Farley & her "findings" on several occasions:
Melissa Farley is one of those people who are convinced there is a connection between sex work and trafficking, but mainstream researchers do not.
For more information, see his Marginalization of Women and Sex Work page.

With all of this, I'm surprised that I had not discovered Michael earlier. (We "met" at my post at Sex In The Public Square). But then, as Michael himself has noted, the myths are passed along far more enthusiastically than the truths.

Click here to listen to the show live, and call in with comments and questions at 1 (646) 200-3136.

UPDATE:

There were some issues with BlogTalkRadio's server/site, and so the show will be downloaded, edited and uploaded to adjust for that. (Hopefully it is all recorded.) Meanwhile, please be patient with the "dead air" gaps ~ the show did go on (even longer than scheduled).

And look for the return of Dr. Goodyear on a future show. (Please fee free to listen to future Cult of Gracie shows , and past shows , as well! lol) Many thanks to him for sharing his information and his patience during a glitchy show.

Also, Elizabeth at Sex In The Public Square has posted her thoughts (&wonderful questions) on the show.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

All About Eves








What do all these photos have in common? They are all the amazing work of Eve Arnold.

Master Photographer Eve Arnold and Marilyn Monroe enjoyed a 10 year friendship, lasting until Monroe's death.
While many dismiss Marilyn’s intelligence, Eve didn’t. Both women knew what effect being a woman had on the world around her, and as Eve says, “We could make use of it, or we could let it be.”

Arnold would later say, “I didn’t want to be a ‘woman photographer’. That would limit me. I wanted to be a photographer who was a woman, with all the world open to my camera.” (And more recently confirms this belief, saying in a BBC interview, “No, I am a photographer. And you don’t say, a man photographer. So it seems likely that I am a photographer.”) This certainly puts the the two women on decidedly different paths, at least in appearance; yet it would stop neither’s success.

Read more about Eve Arnold ~ including more photos.

Via Silent Porn Star.

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A Reminder

From Blog For Choice:

The Netroots Nation Scholarship: You know what Netroots Nation is, right? It used to be called Yearly Kos. Well, this year, Netroots Nation is partnering with Democracy for America to offer scholarships to bring some of those activists to Austin to network with fellow progressives just like them.

Here's more from their email:

Whether you're an activist organizing locally to support a presidential campaign or a blogger mobilizing communities for a common cause, this is your chance to show off what you've done to move the progressive agenda forward.

Our scholarship program is a way to ensure that activists of every age, background, and economic bracket, representing numerous points of view and all 50 states, are able to attend Netroots Nation. Because the more diverse the audience, the richer our experience in Austin will be.

The scholarship program will cover the cost of registration and lodging for at least nine activists.

Sounds awesome right? Click here to apply for your scholarship now. The deadline is June 10 at 11:59pm Eastern.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Two XXBN Shows Today

On Sunday, June 8th at noon (central), Renegade Evolution will be on XXBN discussing The Conviction of Max Hardcore for Obscenity Charges, Language, and Sex Workers & Normal People.

Click here to listen to the show live. You can call in at 1 (646) 200-3136.

Then, at 7 p.m. (central), Holly Pottle interviews Jill Brenneman regarding her vision for Sex Workers Against Rape, a campaign she is in the process of starting. Topics to be discussed include sex workers rights approaches to stopping abuse and how the criminalization of prostitution encourages abuse. Jill will also discuss how she transitioned from being part of the sex work prohibitionist segment of the feminist movement to a leader in the sex workers' rights movement.

Click here to listen live, and call in with comments and questions at 1 (646) 200-3136

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Friday, June 6, 2008

High-Five Fridays #19

High-Five Fridays is on an official hiatus; but you can still participate.

#1 What the Coat Hanger Means ~ not for the faint of heart, but then neither is Chris.

#2 Carnival of the Liberals #66 ~ 10 excellent reads, and the opportunity to submit &/or host.

#3 For the Record, Melissa McEwan makes a sane argument regarding the insanity of misogyny which surrounds Hillary Clinton and affects us all.

#4 Dangerous Knitting. I don't even know what to say. Other than to breathe the word "amazing." (Via Sir Robin Rides Away.)

#5 The Pop Feminist is usually brilliant (even when being funny); but this quote from this post is spot-on & worth it's own high-five:
Women especially-- who have been historically institutionally barred from elite, artistic, canonic endeavors-- are often limited to an expression of genius in the artistic medium of the body.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What Are They Going To Do About Jeffs?

Summer re-run, I wrote this June 15, 2005 ~ but as I know you aren't digging through the old Cult of Gracie archives...

Warren Jeffs is getting attention again. I've written about him before, but the more I learn, the more I am interested ~ in a creepy sort of way. The latest press is all up in arms about the so-called 'Lost Boys', teenage boys split off from the group & left to fend for themselves. By ridding the community of teenage boys, Jeffs lowers the competition of men for claiming multiple wives, sort of like a stallion. Unlike that wild life scenario, it seems none of the strong males came sniffing back around to challenge him... Well, as far as we know. We think he's in hiding somewhere, but if a body shows up, there's a group to consider.

Meanwhile, the law figures the only charge they can file is that of Jeffs arranging the marriage of an underage girl. Never mind they had this knowledge in 2002. And in 2004, others noted the irony: "As Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl go on Sunday talk shows to argue for the rights of women in Iraq, Jeffs ascends the pulpit to tell his followers that a man must have at least three wives to secure a place in heaven, while a woman will get there only if invited by her man, local residents said."

But, they are only women in the USA. So who cares? We need to focus on what other men do to other women. Men in the USA are exempt.

*ahem*

Seems Jeffs hasn't been violent enough. Nor do the problems of his ignored assets etc seem to be enough to warrent any legal action. They are a-scared of Mr Jeffs, they are.

(The idea of acting as if he's a murder victim might be the best approach: "Hey, Jeffs, no harm, no foul, we thought you was dead & we went looking for ya. Now that we see you're a-ok, we'll let you be on your merry way..." Then they can follow him back to his lair & monitor him... or not, I guess.)

But Jeffs' civil liberties aside, what I want to know is, are we going to blame Mormons & religion, or is this another lone gunman?

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Get In Bed With Searah Deysach On Cult Of Gracie Radio

June 4th, at 9 p.m. (central), on Cult of Gracie radio, Searah Deysach, owner of Early to Bed & maker of lesbian porn films.
About Searah: Frustrated with the lame sex toy scene in her hometown, Searah Deysach, with help from her friends and family, opened Chicago’s first woman-owned sex shop Early to Bed in 2001. Now Searah spends her days spreading the good word about sex positively and the joys of masturbation through her store, writings and a busy schedule of talks at colleges and community groups. She is also the sex columnist for (the now defunct) Punk Planet Magazine and the online community ChronicBabe.com. She lives in Chicago with her girlfriend and their bunny.
Join us! Listen live & call in or post your questions to chat. (You can use the same link to listen to the archived show &/or download it too!)

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Republicans Suffer From Dementia & Can't Understand Satire

First republicans were actually using comedian Steven Colbert's satirical works to push their agendas, and now ABC reports that the Minnesota Republican Party's released a letter, signed by a whopping six GOP women, attacking comedian Al Franken who is running for United States Senate in Minnesota.

Eight years ago, Franken penned a column for Playboy called "Porn-O-Rama!" in which the former Saturday Night Live comedian wrote about visiting a made-up sex institute where he takes part in sexual acts with humans and machines.

"While you may attempt to defend your writing as satire, we hardly find anything defensible about your finding humor in your desire to have sex with women or robots that look like women simply to give yourself a good time," the Minnesota GOP women wrote in the letter. "This column is at its worst, an extreme example of the kind of disrespect for the role of women in society that all of us have fought our entire lives. At best, it is the disrespectful writings of a nearly 50-year-old man who seems to think that women's bodies are the domain of a man who just wants to have a good time."

"Denounce this article and apologize immediately," read the letter.

Sheesh. And they say feminists have no sense of humor...

Perhaps too many republicans suffer from frontotemporal dementia and therefore cannot process sarcasm. (It's funny because it's true.)

Meanwhile, for those suffering from a poor sense of humor, an dementia-induced inability to recognize sarcasm, or a fundamental ignorance of humor ~ including satire ~ and its historical use as social protest, the Franken camp's response (via ABC) should help clarify things a bit:

The Franken campaign said the Playboy column was written as a satire.

"Al had a long career as a satirist," said Jess McIntosh of the Franken campaign. "But he understands the difference between what you say as a satirist and what you do as a senator. And as a senator, Norm Coleman has disrespected the people of Minnesota by putting the Exxons and Halliburtons ahead of working families. And there's nothing funny about that."

You don't have to be an Al Franken fan (though I am) to love the "he understands the difference between what you say as a satirist and what you do as a senator".

Maybe a little remedial reading, via the links here, would help those six GOP ladies... Or lobotomies. Hey, Dr. Katherine P. Rankin, do they do parahippocampal gyrus lobotomies for the sarcasm impaired?

Related: In the New York Times article on sarcasm, Dr. Rankin is quoted as saying, "I bet Jon Stewart has a huge right frontal lobe; that’s where the sense of humor is detected on M.R.I."

And now you know how to spot all the smart funny people (who are happy to see you). Bet there are few bulging lobes in today's republican party.

Then again, they are rarely happy to see me.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Myth Me?

People continue to spread myths about sex workers ~ and I continue to debunk the bunk.

Missed me, missed me? Now you gotta kiss me.

And if you don't agree with my debunking of sex worker myths, then I think you know where you can kiss me.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Reveal The Goddess In Me? Sure, But Let Me Reveal The Bull-Shit In You

I was watching TV, being a lazy lump. And then, something (he claims) innocuous happens, and I get all foamy-at-the-mouth (my phrasing, not his). I am more than awake, I am incensed.

First a commercial for the Venus, the pink razor for women, followed by an ad for one of the smoking cessation patches... Like a rolled-up newspaper hitting me upside my head, the insanity strikes me.

Why the hell are they peddling pink girly-girl razors at me, as if the curves of my legs and pits are somehow more confusing, complicated and, perhaps even more disgusting just for being female, than those contours of a man's face? I've seen plenty of men walking 'round with white tp dotted faces, red circles of blood holding them fast, to know that whipping a razor around ~ any razor, no matter the color ~ can cut skin. It's not made for women so much as marketed to them... Because we're silly girls who love to shop for pretty pink things.

:snort:

But then there's the smoking cessation commercial right afterwards. A patch, to be precise. A product that boasts of its 80% fail rate ~ and fails to disclose that the fail rate is even higher for women. But then, the patch doesn't come in pretty pink, or have unicorns on it, or anything which would indicate it's supposed to appeal to me. So maybe I'm not supposed to really pay attention to this ad.

Corporate America and the society which supports it has decided it is more important for me to have smooth "sexy" legs than it is for me to stop smoking.

Arg!

My head spins and I see red and at some point I'm aware that I'm ranting at the speed of light. So I slow down and say, "Why on earth do they push pink razors when they should be focused on products which really serve the needs of women, like smoking cessation? Oh yeah, 'cuz the 'right to control our bodies' has more to do with our come-hither appearance than our health."

His response to all of this?

Nothing.

When prompted (commanded) to comment, all he can say is that there's money ~ more money ~ to be made in pink girly razors because making plastic pink is a nominal investment in change as opposed to medical research. It's just marketing, not really a new product, so there's more profit to be made. Implication: I must be thick-headed not to see that.

I see it; I get it.

I love him; but he just doesn't get it.

Even going from white goo to pink goo (and pink goo that moisturizes so that "ladies" won't need "masculine" shave creme in cans) requires Gillette aka PG, monstrous corporation that it is, lots of dollars in R&D. (And don't forget the focus groups!) Why is it more important to create a need for such silly products when they (literally meaning P&G, by the way) could create something valuable for women?

Oh, right, I already said why.

The 'right to control our bodies' has more to do with the come-hither appearance of our bodies than with the health of our bodies.

As if this weren't sickening enough, check out P&G's new B&S:
“Now we’ve given women the permission to reveal her own goddess,” said Gro Frivoll, who has worked on the Venus account at BBDO for eight years. “Every woman can be the goddess of something, because this allows you to be your most feminine self.”
Oh yes, please let me be the goddess of cancer!

Oh, and just in case you think I'm being to rough on poor little P&G...
When Gillette pitches razors to men, it tends to emphasize technological innovations. But on the women’s side, “we focus more on the emotional end benefits,” Ms. Frivoll said. “Men want to know, What am I paying more for? If a man were paying $25 for lipstick, it would have to have more than the Chanel name on it.”
Ironically, the razors apparently have "35 patents pending or granted that cover the product’s technologies, designs and manufacturing processes" (heaven help us!), yet, by their own admission, the company's pushing the pink & fuzzy.

As if that amount of dedication & funding to hair removal weren't obscene enough, how about the ad campaign price tag, kids?
starting the biggest campaign on the women’s side of its business since the original three-blade Venus was introduced in 2001.

Procter would not disclose the amount it is spending on the campaign.

Yeah, they're just turning white goo pink... that's cheap enough.

But can they withstand my stomach turning too?

I just have one question for you, Procter & Gamble: How do you like the goddess in me now?

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Put Away The Prostitutes

Earlier this year I adapted the classic poem First they came... to fit today's political apathy. So I was delighted to discover that punk rock band NoFX paraphrased that same poem in their song Re-gaining Unconsciousness on the album The War on Errorism (2003).
First they put away the dealers,
keep our kids safe and off the street.
Then they put away the prostitutes,
keep married men cloistered at home.
Then they shooed away the bums,
then they beat and bashed the queers,
turned away asylum-seekers,
fed us suspicions and fears.
We didn´t raise our voice,
we didn´t make a fuss.
It´s funny there was no one left to notice
when they came for us.




The lines, "Then they put away the prostitutes, keep married men cloistered at home," is so indicative of the puritanical prohibitionist plan; as if prostitutes are to blame for male desire.

Shouldn't a married man's own vows, to his partner if not his priest and/or government, mean enough for him to abstain?

No.

Men are too weak to be able to resist; just knowing women are available is like the mythological siren's call, luring him from the safety of the ship to the waters and rocks below. He can't help himself, he's only a man.

So put away the prostitutes, they are dangerous.

...But if women are so damned dangerous (and I do believe it is all women, not just sex workers), then what laws and courts can limit them, what jails can hold them?

Or, indeed, keep the weak men away.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Domestic Violence & Child Custody In The Courts

Today on XXBN, Barry Goldstein discusses the crisis in the custody court system that has resulted in thousands of children being sent to live with abusers.

I love how his website credits him:
attorney, teacher, author and advocate for women abused by their partner (and too often the courts)
I love it, not because the situation is good or funny, but because he dares to say it: The courts are abusive.

It's not like it should be surprising; it's a male dominated place. And I don't care how non-pc it is ~ men's groups be damned ~ domestic violence is a woman's issue. One that's long been ignored.

Domestic violence is like rape: It's directed at far more women than men, is about controlling women via violence, and, because no one wants to face those facts & deal with them, the courts are not only still stuck in stereotypical dark ages but perpetuating the problem.

But you don't need to just take my word for it. Read this information from Battered Women, Abused Children, and Child Custody: A National Crisis:
'I am concerned about his mental stability.' Judge to attorneys just before signing an order removing custody from a protective mother to an alleged sexual abuser. The same order stated that the mother was 'fit'.
So a mentally unstable father with a history of abuse is deemed more appropriate than a fit mother?
'She [the primary caretaker mother] sees herself as primarily a 'mom', and that is too much of a burden for the children to bear.' Open court statement by a NC Family Court judge in a hearing where full custody of the children was taken from a protective mother and given to an alleged abuser.
Ah, it would be easier for the children to bear an abusive father as primary care giver. :snort:
Familiar patterns of abuse simply shift ground to the legal arena where current child custody laws and prodecures present opportunities for new tactics of domination and control. [The National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, Synergy - The Newsletter of the Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody, Vol. 4, No. 2, Winter 1999-2000, J. M. Bowermaster, Relocation Restrictions: An Opportunity for Custody Abuse, p.4]
And the courts reward their efforts with improper placements, thus making the courts at best a tool, and at worst perpetrators of abuse themselves.
Despite the powerful stereotypes working against fathers, they are significantly more successful than is commonly believed. The Massachusetts [gender bias] task force, for example, reported that fathers receive primary or joint custody in more than 70% of contested cases. Lynn Hecht Schafran, Gender Bias in Family Courts, American Bar Association Family Advocate, Vol 17, No. 1, p.26
I've seen this with one of my dear friends, DeeDee, who was abused and then suffered more horrific abuse in court ~ at the hands of those who should know better. It boggles my mind as much as it burns.

And it makes me very passionate about the issue of family court and domestic violence. It's a screwed up place where, as DeeDee and I say, "The only reason justice is blind, is due to a head injury from her domestic partner."

And no body seems to give a crap.

And if you disagree, call in and raise the issue with Barry Goldstein.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

What You Did On My Summer Vacation

What I did on my vacation isn't likely going to interest you as much as what others did on my vacation, so here's the skinny. (Does anyone use "skinny" anymore? I'm so not hip.)

Don't worry, teach, this report is all about me. *wink*

The board at SWOP East has put me in charge of public relations (for the hip kids, the title "media coordinator" may make more sense to you). Which means you'll be seeing/reading more of me, including at SWOP East's blog and it explains (partly) Cult of Gracie Radio's move to XXBN.

I'm super excited to join SWOP East. So much so that the honor of being asked to join such a great organization (and such tremendous women, yet) out-shone what should have been a common sense reaction of, "What? More work?" and had me happy to join forces with them. The work & women make me feel like I can successfully squeeze more juice from each of days.

Also while I was gone, Radical Vixen posted her interview with yours truly. It had occurred so long ago, it was almost like reading an interview with someone else ~ but someone I agree with. *wink* I'd like to publicly thank Vixen for her Sex Worker Solidarity series too; it's an admirable, much needed, project and I am thrilled to have a part in the discussion.

I also discovered that Jaded Hippy had selected my post, Abolition and the Saving of Sex Workers, for inclusion in Third Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy. Very cool to be noticed for the carnival, and to be in such marvelous company, thanks!

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You Know You're A Woman When...

Via Amber Rhea, two excellent reads:

Rape Is Trivial, And Other Ways Women Are Non-News: "It’s very easy to trivialize discriminatory attitudes against women’s sexuality, because who cares about your right to screw around while people are dying!"

Mint Jelly on the Pöpemöbile ~ which is a fun to say/read, but rather misleading... Here's an excerpt: "Unless you’re a female you just don’t get the experience of catcalls and “playful” followers and hard-held stares."

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Right To Control Our Own Image

A Slip of a Girl discusses Body Image 2.0 as more than our parts; a response to an article in the May issue of Fitness magazine:
And it's difficult to decide which is more liberating: Controlling the media, the message, or our very own bodies.

Now more than ever we have the ability to exercise something which should be our right -- the right to control our bodies in voice and deed, to decide what should be said about ourselves, to say what it is that we are really thinking and feeling, and to show what we wish.

Blogging and self-publishing allows us to take those previously intimate conversations, such as kitchen table coffee clutches and those rants shared over a bottle (or two) of wine, and share them with so many more people.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

"The Reign of Error"

Classic, vintage misogyny via Silent Porn Star:

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio

Cult of Gracie Radio launches Wednesday, April 23, and (other than the first week in May, for my much deserved vacation) will air Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m. (central time). All shows are live and you can call in ~ so who knows what will happen?

Here's the show calendar:

April 23 Dr. Jane Vargas, a PhD in human sexuality & expert in tease and fetish, talks cross dressing.
About Jane: After dating a fetishist, she started X-traordinary Talk as a hobby. It grew very quickly and she quit her job as a magazine editor to grow the business which is now nearly 15 years old. She earned her PhD in 2002, with a dissertation on the sexual expression of tease (as distinct from flirtation and seduction) and how tease has manifested in artwork thru the ages. All while raising two strong, feminist daughters.
Update: Dr. Jane Vargas Post-Show Notes here.

April 30 Randall Radic, also known as 'Father Felony' or 'Daddy Radic,' is the Ripon, CA pastor who pleaded guilty to embezzlement after he sold the First Congregational Church without the knowledge of his congregation.
About Randall: His recently released memoir, The Sound Of Meat (published by Ephemera Bound*) covers his earlier life as a professional swim coach and priest, including his eight fiancees & two wives. "I used to try and save souls without ever examining my own," says Radic. Now, with this memoir, he puts pen to his mission, voice to his sin, sadism to his redemption.
Update: Randall Radic Post-Show Notes here.

Update: Note shows after my vacation will run on XBN.

May 14 Dr. Susan Block, sex educator, cable TV host and author, discusses what we can learn from bonobos.
About Suzy: A familiar face on HBO's late-night programming through her #1 Nielsen-rated specials, Radio Sex TV with Dr. Susan Block as well as her episodes on Real Sex, she's not only an educated sexologist, but a hot chick with a grand sense of humor to boot.
Listen to the show live here.

May 21st Call In With Gracie Passette

Ask me anything, or hear me ramble about issues that matter to me. *wink*
About Gracie: If you don't know me, check out my bio & keep reading the blog.
Listen to the show live here.

UPDATE: There's been a change in the line-up. Tonight at 9 p.m. (central) Cult of Gracie on XXBN will have as guests DJ Ashba and James Michael from the band SIXX:A.M. See more info here.

May 28th Amanda Brooks, a retired escort (and former stripper) and author of The Internet Escort's Handbook series.
About Amanda: Amanda is also an activist, serving as a board member of SWOP-East and, as a board member of Desiree Alliance, writer at Bound, Not Gagged.
Listen to the show live here.

June 4th Searah Deysach, owner of Early to Bed & maker of lesbian porn films.
About Searah: Frustrated with the lame sex toy scene in her hometown, Searah Deysach, with help from her friends and family, opened Chicago’s first woman-owned sex shop Early to Bed in 2001. Now Searah spends her days spreading the good word about sex positively and the joys of masturbation through her store, writings and a busy schedule of talks at colleges and community groups. She is also the sex columnist for (the now defunct) Punk Planet Magazine and the online community ChronicBabe.com. She lives in Chicago with her girlfriend and their bunny.
Listen live here.

June 18 Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, award winning author of Horror Sinisteria, with titles published at Ephemera Bound*.
About Andrea: Called “One of the most unique and twisted authors of our generation,” Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc is a best selling, three-time award winning author of Horror Sinisteria. From ghosts to the paranormal, from the Occult to pirates, Andrea can write it, write it well and keep her fans and critics begging for more. A force of nature, Andrea has blazed a path through a genre most often dominated by men. She is routinely sought out for appearances at everything from private functions to public venues to conventions, where she appears as a celebrity guest.
June 25 Jack Hafferkamp, of Libido magazine and Libido films.
About Jack: From 1988 to 2000 Jack Hafferkamp published/edited Libido: The Journal of Sex and Sensibility with Marianna Beck. Since then he has operated Libido Films, which specializes in gender-equal explicit erotica. Libido films have been honored at the annual Erotic Awards in London and featured at New York's Cinekink festival. Jack holds a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, specializing in Erotology, which is the material culture of sex.
Confirmed guests, with dates not yet scheduled:

J. Eric Miller, author of Decomposition & Animal Rights & Pornography.

Jennifer Epstein, author of The Painter from Shanghai, a novel based on the life of Chinese prostitute-turned-post-Impressionist Pan Yuliang, who stunned China and much of the West in the 20's and 30's by defiantly painting herself in the nude, even though it went against pretty much every Confucian ethic of the time.

Dr. Gloria Brame, a licensed clinical sexologist and leading international authority on BDSM and fetish sex.

*Disclosure Note: Gracie Passette is an editor with Ephemera Bound.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Domestic Violence History Lessons

In Wife-beating in Ancient Rome, Joy Connolly, professor in the Department of Classics at New York University and author of The State of Speech: Rhetoric and Political Thought in Ancient Rome, explores the issue of domestic violence and more.
Uncountable by any statistic was the abuse that might be dealt out by a violent husband. As in modern times until very recently, wife-beating was not much talked of by classical writers beyond the odd aside, as when Augustine in his Confessions recollects the bruises he saw as a child marking the faces of his mother’s friends, or when Herodotus and Suetonius report that the Corinthian tyrant Periander and the Emperor Nero beat their pregnant wives to death. Plutarch hints at the frequency of abuse in his Roman Questions, a quirky study of Roman religion and customs, when he wonders why Romans avoid marrying close relatives. He suggests three reasons: Roman men may seek to expand their influence by marrying into different families; they may fear that domestic over-familiarity breeds contempt; or they might prefer an exogamic system where sisters and daughters, should they suffer abuse, could seek help from male kin unrelated (thus under no obligation) to the abuser. The Greek preference for endogamy, Plutarch implies, caught women in a familial trap from which there was no easy escape.
One, or at least this one, cannot help but wonder if these are the very same reasons for the "moral" dictate given for marriage laws. Science has proven that marriage and its breeding practices are not harmed by offspring between cousins, for example, so there's no reason for those without knowledge of genetics to even think of such problems. (See also.) In fact, there is quite a bunch of historical documentation of such marriages, and there seems to be evidence that favors such family ties:
One of the basic laws of modern evolutionary science, quantified by the great Oxford biologist William D. Hamilton in 1964 under the name "kin selection," is that the more close the genetic relationship between two people, the more likely they are to feel loyalty and altruism toward each other. Natural selection has molded us not just to try to propagate our own genes, but to help our relatives, who possess copies of some of our specific genes, to propagate their own.
So, it stands to reason that the notion of forbidden familial marriages has more to do with something else... Perhaps it is even more horrible than the notion, expressed in Forbidden Relatives: The American Myth of Cousin Marriage, that "the U.S. prohibition against such unions originated largely because of the belief that it would promote more rapid assimilation of immigrants".

Maybe, it has more to do with the ability to control ~ and even abuse ~ women.

It certainly is a common step for abusers today to isolate their victim from friends and even their own families.

But let's get back to Connolly's article.

Using Sarah B. Pomeroy's The Murder of Regilla: A case of domestic violence in antiquity, and Caroline Vout's Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome, Connolly brings up one historical case study, if you will, and the practical matter of interpretation from our current cultural vantage point.

The case study, of sorts, in our historical lesson on the acceptance of domestic violence is the story of Appia Annia Regilla Atilia Caucidia Tertulla.

A Roman woman born into a powerful family closely linked to the Antonine dynasty, Regilla married "far outside her family, to the celebrated Greek politician and orator Herodes Atticus". Regilla died in her mid-thirties, eight months pregnant with her sixth child ~ punched or kicked in the belly by a freedman acting on orders from her husband. Regilla's brother, Braduas, brought Herodes, Regilla's husband, up on a murder charge, "but the absence of witnesses, Herodes’s insistence that he had not intended his freedman to administer such a violent beating, and his extraordinary public expressions of grief (including the dedication of the Acropolis Odeon to his dead wife) got him off."

Connolly takes issue with Pomeroy's work, saying, "Pomeroy’s reconstruction of Regilla's life, especially her education and her relationship with her husband, seizes most of many opportunities to cast the Roman matron as a victim."

I cannot fully agree. How else would you paint a woman (and her unborn child) who were murdered? "Victim" seems apt here.

However, there is, if not a twist, then at least a point to consider...

Enter Vout, whose work poses the question of our ability to "ever be able to understand the degree to which sexuality is a 'locally constructed' or a transcendent, 'trans-historical experience of Eros'". This begs the question: Is the story of Regilla's murder even true?

I must read the books in order to be close to the answer; and thanks to Connolly, I'm too intrigued not to. The wish list & reading pile grows...

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Let Us Eat Cake



From the March (2008) issue of Esquire, What I've Learned: Roseanne:

Men are very fragile.

Everything is a government conspiracy.

If you think you're getting bad love, that means you're giving it, too.

Self-esteem is the goddamn root of all evil.

Those who can't do, teach. And, as Woody Allen says, those who can't teach, teach gym. And, as I say, those who can't teach gym become experts. That's who we look to for answers these days -- the biggest friggin' idiots in the world. People who have never had kids telling you how to raise yours. Gay people telling you how to make your marriage work. Men telling women how to raise their self-esteem. The only thing that cures everything is talking to people who have the same problem you do. The rest is just a moneymaking bullshit scheme that some asshole is getting rich on.

One of my missions on earth is to tell people how full of shit they are.

I'm from the streets, but I'm also very gracious. They always leave that part out.

I used to think that people liked you if you told the truth.

Women love to lose themselves in effect. Men love to lose themselves in cause.

When you grow up Jewish, your parents are always telling you, Nobody's better than you. Then, usually when you're about sixteen, they start telling you that you're no better than anybody else. That's the whole thing about being Jewish: It's too hot, but it's too cold. You don't want your kids to be certain of anything. If you're certain of anything, that's when you get into trouble. That's the lesson of the Jews.

You have to participate in a marriage. That was news to me.

Husbands are like children: You gotta be very consistent with setting limits.

The hardest thing I ever learned about being a wife was that I'm not the husband.

The wife is the one who serves. But she is also the one who rules. It's weird, because you have to stay humble and be strong all at the same time. The husband? He serves, too, only in a different way. And he protects. Just like the LAPD.

The object of business is to keep your buddies working, even if they're fuckin' idiots.

Nobody ever gets back to you. Nobody ever completes anything. Everything always costs ten times more than estimated.

I realized very early in my life that the rest of the world marched to the beat of a different drummer than I did. But I felt sorry for them. I thought I was the only one who was right. And I think that's what probably saved my life -- being that deluded.

Fame makes you a target, but it also allows you to put your ethics into play.

You can't refute comedy. It's a physical response in the body and in the mind. It comes and it snatches you up and it makes you dance.

I'm way funnier in the morning.

Our world today is all about things rather than ideas. It's vanquishment by enticement.

The good life is free.

Nobody repays any debts in Hollywood. Until you're dead. Then they give you the Thalberg Award.

You're as sick as your secrets.

Del Taco has the best fast food. Wendy's has the best fries. I don't like McDonald's anymore; it's just cardboard. Burger King at least has mayonnaise. Taco Bell is great, 'cause you can't eat Del Taco every time.

Diets are the root of all evil. They are the reason everyone is fat.

If you ask me, I'm gonna tell you.

I hate sex. I'm done with it. I tell my husband he should go have sex with other people, but he never does. I don't know why. Probably because I told him to. Whatever you tell men, they always do the opposite. The trick is to tell them they should cheat on you, and then don't have sex with them, either. Then you have a happy marriage. You stop having sex and just hang out and eat and watch TV.

Women's problem with sex is simple: We don't like having sex with someone we know too well.

Inner peace means inner silence.

I'm tired of asking anymore. I'm just doing.

Is there anyone more wonderful than Roseanne? I've always had a girlie crush on her; but when she had Mary Daly on her talk show, I fell in love. But hard.

I don't agree with every damn thing they "say", but then I don't think they'd want me to. Neither wants zombie followers.

If they did, I'd be less of an admirer.

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Blind To Misogyny

I love my partner, CR/LF. But he's a man.

For the past five years, we've agreed on most things political, including elections, and enjoyed debating ~ both others and one another the few times we've disagreed. But this year it's a struggle.

He's decidedly Barack; I'm decidedly Hillary. While I'm really, really certain neither of us is so invested in "our candidate" that should the other win the Dem's nod we'd not be so stupid as to shoot ourselves & our country in the foot by voting anything but the Democratic ticket, just talking about the election this year is difficult.

Primarily, my belief in Hillary is because she's put more concrete information out-there about her ideas, her platform, her direction, than Barack has. Sure, "Hope" and "Our Moment Is Now" are magnificent concepts. But being president requires action, our country needs a framework, and I as a voter need more than a simple philosophy, however grand, to convince me that he can do what needs to be done.

Pragmatic issues aside (which is such an odd expression to use when discussion a presidential election, that I'm tempted to backspace it all...), the past few months have really set the bit between this horse's teeth. And the fundamental reason for that is the gender judging ~ and let's face it, bashing ~ that Hillary is enduring.



And that's something CR/LF is reluctant to discuss.

As smart, sensitive and educated as this good man is, he still has difficulty really understanding the female experience. That's how insidious misogyny is in our culture; men just can't see it. And when it's pointed out, it makes them uncomfortable & defensive. "Hey, not all men say/think/do that... I don't!"

As if that's what I am saying when I point out the crap; as if I am blaming him personally.

Then there's the, "If it's not everyone, then don't worry about it," and the looks that say, "Oh, gawd, there she goes again..." as if I'm "one of those foaming at the mouth feminists" because I won't just sit there silently and take it.

Sure, lots of this can (& does) apply to the issue of race. But there's one big difference with this argument in this election year...

While folks are freely dishing about Hillary's clothes, faulting her for her "female traits" & "feminine wiles" (such as her tears), and equally mocking her for being a "robot" or "monster" when she doesn't display enough of what they perceive to be "feminine traits"; no one is applying such stupid stereotypes, on such a scale, regarding Barack's race.

Has film footage of Barack eating watermelon & fried chicken been discussed (ad nauseam) as "real" or a "campaign ploy"? No one at the news networks would find it acceptable to discuss his demeanor in terms of a "song and dance man" or some other stupid, racist historical role which blacks have been forced to play. No one is allowed to couch Barack's set-backs in terms of "being lynched" by his opponent.

No one would stand for such horrid stereotypes when it comes to race ~ and the few times idiots have gone too close, they've been slapped down. Thankfully we won't tolerate such ignorance and malice when it comes to race.

But it's apparently fine to talk about Hillary in terms of her gender.

As the video shows, it's just dandy to paint Hillary as just another uppity breeder who needs to be put in her place.

It still is just fine to denigrate, belittle & mock based on gender. And as the gender so disparaged and limited, I'm enraged.

Enraged enough to vote my gender ~ even more than before.

And if CR/LF doesn't agree, doesn't want to vote for Hillary for other reasons, that's fine; but he's darn well better start to see what's going on.

Because this misogyny-blindness is making me want to poke people's eyes out.

(Link to video found via Amber Rhea, who found it at Random Babble, etc. etc.)

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sex Worker Rights Broadcast Network Interview

I'm going to be on XBN: Sex Worker Rights Broadcast Network, on Saturday, April 5th at 9 p.m. (central). XBN is a SWOP East Media Project, and I'm really proud to be asked by Jill.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Today's Pop Culture Misogyny Report

Before I show you today's shout-out against misogyny, I must direct you back to last December where I had posted a complaint about the horrible BK ads in my Misogyny King post, where a very brave (not!) Anonymous said:
The king in Burger King is no more the symbol for masculinity than Dairy Queen is the symbol of femininity.

Your post only perpetuates misogyny, especially on the web, where it seems most rampant. IMO.
Pointing out misogyny doesn't perpetuate it ~ on the web or otherwise ~ unless you confuse "discussion" with "participation". They are two very different things, discussion and participation. Unlike areas of celebrity, where the problem of continuing to talk about them as if they matter while posting names and links to the latest sordid non-news, discussion of an issue isn't perpetuating it.

It's kind of like making a spouse put a quarter in the swear jar, or grounding a teen, or arresting a thief; you have to catch them in the act & point out what they are doing wrong. Maybe they know they are wrong, maybe they don't; but you just can't sit there because your silence is complacency.

In my mind, complacency perpetuates, not discussion; and it upsets me dearly. I'm not the only one. At Feministe, Zuzu speaks too:
Like I said in my earlier post, it's important to call out misogyny because misogyny hurts all women. Here's an example of misogyny hurting men -- because the ultimate put-down of a man is to equate him to a woman. If we fight the idea that being a woman is not something to be sneered at, we not only raise women, but we deprive bullies of one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal against men.
Now that you're up to speed...

Today I point to another example of insidious misogyny. Found in Patton Oswalt's No Reason To Complain, a depiction of the apocalypse, where "volcanoes spew menstrual blood" ~ because there's nothing more terrifying than that woman's thing...



You know, even though science (and even several sex ed classes!) explains "the curse", the fact that we can "bleed for seven days and not die" is still most amazing. And "gross" too. And so, naturally, the apocalypse must be filled with it.

Before you send me the hate mail/comments, filled with the usual "feminists have no sense of humor", let me tell you that normally I enjoy Oswalt; but that line is just proof that misogyny still winds and worms its way about everywhere ~ it even lurks in my evening comedy.

And no, I'm not calling out for Oswalt's head on a stick; I just think folks need to sit and wonder why women, and in this case, menstruation is so frightening.

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