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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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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Sunday, October 19, 2008

And Religion Taketh

Study Finds Serious Mental Illness Often Dismissed by Local Church:
In a recent Baylor study of 293 Christians who approached their local church for assistance in response to a personal or family member's diagnosed mental illness, Baylor researchers found that more than 32 percent of these church members were told by their church pastor that they or their loved one did not really have a mental illness. The study found these church members were told the cause of their problem was solely spiritual in nature, such as a personal sin, lack of faith or demonic involvement. Baylor researchers also found that women were more likely than men to have their mental disorders dismissed by the church.

In a subsequent survey, Baylor researchers found the dismissal or denial of the existence of mental illness happened more in conservative churches, rather than more liberal ones.

All of the participants in both studies were previously diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider as having a serious mental illness, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, prior to approaching their local church for assistance.

"The results are troubling because it suggests individuals in the local church are either denying or dismissing a somewhat high percentage of mental health diagnosis," said Dr. Matthew Stanford, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, who led the study. "Those whose mental illness is dismissed by clergy are not only being told they don't have a mental illness, they are also being told they need to stop taking their medication. That can be a very dangerous thing."
Let's recap, because I know I had difficulty believing this...

* Nearly 1/3 of those talking to their clergy have their diagnosed mental illness dismissed with a wave of the hand. No, that's not quite true... They are first told the medical diagnosis is wrong, then judged for "a personal sin, lack of faith or demonic involvement", and lastly told to say "Hail Mary" so many times, attend religious services more often, submit to the cat-o-nine tails, or otherwise participate in some ritual.

Anyone else feel like comparing today's clergy to B-movie witch doctors?

* The researchers found that women were more likely than men to have their mental disorders dismissed by the church. The sad thing here is that this does not surprise me at all. In fact, I bet the actual numbers/percents would make me mentally ill possessed by demons, with all the physical symptoms, like vomiting.

But perhaps the real kicker here is that those study participants who had their mental illness dismissed were also those in the study who attended church more than once a week, and described their church as "conservative or charismatic." Maybe those "charismatic clergy" just don't think there's enough room in their church for more than one crazy.

The good news here is that the Baylor study found those who had their mental illness dismissed or denied were less likely to attend church. (But many also stated that their faith in God was weakened; that's the problem with organized religion, people throw the deity out with the bath bad waters. However, at least they got away from the real craziness and now, perhaps, can find spirituality.)

A 32% dismissal/denial of mental illness would explain at least part of the problem of people in the pews. But as I've often seen the born-agains and other bible-thumpers prey on the weak, including the mentally ill, as part of their membership drive practices (i.e. convert quotas), I think we would have to call this prey-convert-dismissial-leaving as a serious turn-over problem management should address. Add it to the list of other serious moral issues churches have.

The study was done, in part, because research consistently showed that it is clergy ~ not psychologists or other mental health experts ~ who are sought most often in times of psychological distress. I guess because those with faith assume they can have faith in their clergy; I hope they (again) see the error of their ways.

The moral of the story: Stay on your meds, but get off the organized religion.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

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

Callie Simms Joins The Cult

Wednesday, October 8th, Callie Simms joins the cult.

Callie holds a Masters degree in marketing with a concentration in writing from Northwestern University & owns CS Entertainment, an adult industry writing services firm. Her written works have appeared in Spread and Slate Magazines; film and television credits include head writer for an erotic film studio as well as writing for mainstream television.

Join us on Cult of Gracie Radio from 9-10 PM (Central) on October 8th, as we dish mainstream and adult marketing, culture, gender and the many hats we wear.

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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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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 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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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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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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Sunday, June 8, 2008

"One Brief Moment Of Strange Inconsequential Irrational Belief"

High school is our last chance!

To sell beach towels for the marching band?

To deal with all elements of society as equals. Before being branded and shuffled off to the work and education society has deemed appropriate for us.
From Dorothy Gambrell's Nature's Doomed Adolescents, a Cat and Girl cartoon.

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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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Friday, May 30, 2008

High-Five Fridays #18

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

#1 The 47th edition of Carnival Against Sexual Violence: read, support, submit & host.

#2 A general high-five to Lina (aka Caroline) at Uncool for doing & being the cool.

#3 Shan-ul-Hai examines the claims that conservatives are happier than liberals:
...would you be happier if you became more conservative?

Based on the data, I don’t think so. It seems like the causality follows an indirect trend; certain variables lead to both conservatism and happiness, and neither the political viewpoint nor the happiness can predict one another. Optimism and pride seem to cause life satisfaction and conservatism; higher education and pessimism, meanwhile, seem to cause dissatisfaction and liberalism.

Personally, I think it’s better to have more people who are unsatisfied with the status quo… this will lead to change and, eventually, improvement.
#4 Between Us Girls discusses The Trouble With Sex in America ~ and while I & others remain guarded about Gardasil, the rest is lovely:
Sex is alive and well in America. You never have far to look far to find it. Our society is saturated with it. Movies, magazines, billboards, t.v. shows, advertising, even Disney pop stars reek of it. And yet, in spite of the proliferation of sexual imagery and activity, America still attempts to maintain antiquated, puritanical sexual ideals.

Unfortunately, as so often happens, our behavior doesn't quite manage to live up to the ideals we espouse. And so, while our children's innocence is stolen from them earlier and earlier, our teens make promises that they can never be expected to keep while being fed a steady diet of sexual imagery and innuendo and our adults gorge themselves on every variation of the act they can imagine, we all busy ourselves trying to maintain the facade of purity.

We talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. We send mixed messages to our young people, perpetuate the idea of sex as some sort of guilty pleasure and let our own confused and twisted ideas about sex influence important government policies that end up being misguided, unethical and downright harmful.

#5 In Born or Learned? Sexuality, Science, and Party Lines, Greta Christina ponders the politics behind and fear of researching queer:
Unless you're going to go with the hard-core deconstructionist argument that there is no reality and all of our perceptions and experiences are 100% socially constructed, then you have to accept that the question, "Is sexual orientation genetically determined, learned, or a combination of both -- and if a combination, how much of each, and how do they work together?"... well, it's a question with an answer. It's not a matter of opinion. And it's exactly the kind of question that science is designed to answer: a question of cause and effect in the physical world.

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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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Friday, May 23, 2008

High-Five Fridays #17

#1 Speaking With Authority: "One of the things I’ve noticed in my time as a sex educator is that people often talk about their sexual experiences, desires and preferences as if they don’t really deserve them."

#2 Virgin Sacrifice: Father/Daughter Dance: "What’s really safer: upholding your daughter to an unrealistic moral standard so you can avoid the awkward sex talk or teaching her how to take care of herself and her needs in a way where she can respect her sexuality?" (Via Silent Porn Star.)

#3 Guns: Bang Bang, Who's Dead?: "If I succumb so easily to a cheesecake, how does a person react to a gun?"

#4 Haunt Hunt, But No Goth Cunt: "But I am no latitudinarian when it comes to the current use of the word "Gothic" and have even less use for those who call themselves "Goth"; for the most part they've taken all the quest, questioning, and longing out of it." (Shameless plug: I interviewed Nikki here.)

#5 How to Be a Super Secretary: "Judging by the advice, a secretary was expected to be part-wife, part-maid, part mistress. The perfect woman their wives could never be; Hiding their feelings, looking perfect, acting pleasant, remembering her place, and always putting her boss before herself. Outside of going to Japan and getting a Geisha, a secretary was the next best thing." (Via Kitschy Kitschy Coo.)

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

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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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Friday, May 16, 2008

High-Five Fridays #16

#1 Sacred Paths - How Do Spirituality and Sexuality Relate, by Vern Barnet:
The more I learn about other cultures and faiths, the more impressed I am with the plasticity of human nature and particularly sexuality. Sex is biological, but sexuality is cultural. Similarly I suspect that the sense of the sacred is a biological capacity but that a particular spirituality arises from within a specific cultural context and personal circumstance.
#2 For the conspiracy lover in all of us (as well as Monroe sleuths): Dorothy Kilgallen, Taking It On The Chin:
If a woman's intelligence, however threatening, is supposed to matter more than earthy beauty, why is Kilgallen the less known? Her valor and strength are not reported and commented upon, even upon the anniversaries of her death. She is not revered -- in fact, she's nearly lost to history already.
#3 Not Your Angel on Giving Out Candy:
My short Daisy Dukes weren't a fashion statement -- or a sign of promiscuity either. They were shorts that were too short but there was no money for better fitting shorts. But I saw the looks. And while I didn't, at first, understand it; I knew there was a wistfulness, a question, a begging in their eyes...

And that's when I began to feel the power shift. Shift to me.
#4 Libby reviews Tristan Taormino's Anal Sex 201:
Now how many of us will ever have the honor of having any sex toy, let alone a butt plug, named after us?
#5 Nikki Nines discusses the Myths Of The Nines from a non-tech POV, regarding people:
The measurements of availability can be misleading.
Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!

Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).

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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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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pink & Blue Gender Study Via Children's Consumption

Only two more days to see the The Pink & Blue Project in New York:

One would be mistaken to assume The Pink and Blue Project is frothy or light. Analysis of the images provokes conversation sensitive to issues in modern society that resonate on consumerism as well as how we define femininity and masculinity. Yoon scrutinizes the adage “pink for a girl, blue for a boy” as an examination of gender specific colors and how a modicum can cross-culturally imbed itself in buying patterns and identities.

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