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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Monday, November 3, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-11-02 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 02 Nov 2008 11:00 PM CST

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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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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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Monday, October 13, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-12 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 13 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

  • Recession, Evangelicals, Abortion, and the LHC | The Cornell Daily Sun
    This speculative data leads me to a tentative hypothesis that the creation of humans that are to be aborted tends to take place in summer, while the abortions themselves tend to take place within the average 12-15 week gestation period that subsequently follows. I find it rather odd that there is a somewhat recurrent pattern in abortions – a late-year pattern that lends itself to making abortion (which is more of an individual freedoms issue as opposed to a macro-scale issue) a hot-button election topic.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

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Links for 2008-10-09 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 10 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-08 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 09 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

  • Hooker raped and robbed - by justice system? « Bound, Not Gagged
    A DEFENDANT accused of forcing a prostitute at gunpoint to have sex with him and three other men got lucky, so to speak, last week. A Philadelphia judge dropped all sex and assault charges at his preliminary hearing. Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni instead held the defendant on the bizarre charge of armed robbery for - get this - "theft of services."
  • Being Amber Rhea » Blog Archive » New media filling the void, for passion and (maybe, sometimes) profit
    this is where new media comes in and fills the void. No use waiting for mainstream media to get on the bandwagon and catch up; we all know how long THAT takes, if it ever happens at all. Instead, we can use the tools that are now available to us to get accurate information out there quickly, in our own voices, unpolluted by editors who are "uncomfortable" with certain topics or downright ignorant, and reach people who otherwise might not be reached (and they will have a voice, as well!).

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

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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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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

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Links for 2008-10-04 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 05 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Friday, October 3, 2008

The Flip-Side Of Sex Worker Discrimination

Lingerie model Joy Sartin claimed she kept her money in her bra because she didn't have her purse with her, and she was only offering to pay a traffic ticket with it; but Portland police Officer Cody Berne testified that she offered him the $270 from her bra after he explained her car would be towed because her license had been suspended for drunken driving. The jury found her guilty.

I'm not sure if a Cleavage Caddy would have helped her any.

Joy is called a lingerie model, but she was on her way home from working at Xotic Tan, a strip club. Isn't calling her a lingerie model a bit less than accurate? Oh, wait... Joy's been complaining that the only reason the officer assumed she was proffering a wad of cleavage cash was because of her profession. So that explains the lingerie model title.

What really strikes me in all this mess is this: Joy said "For someone to [attempt to bribe an officer], they'd have to be out of their mind, and I'm not out of my mind. I'm smart and intelligent, and I wouldn't do something like that." But I think all smart, intelligent, sane drivers know that you cannot pay for your ticket with the officer at your car window. Precisely for the reasons involved here ~ anyone can (and will) say anything. So you pay at the ticket paying counter, please, not out your open car window at the site of the ticket. (Or, like I did, hire a lawyer.) No matter how inconvenient it is. But you can't scream discrimination when you in fact are the one offering to bend (over) the rules.

You know I totally support sex worker rights (and those of single parents), but the irony of claiming discrimination against sex workers under these terms is huge. And not lost on me.

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Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-02 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 03 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

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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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Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Smoke-Out Genia

I've known Genia of SistersTalk for years now. We've been out of touch for awhile, but thanks to the magic of Twitter, we recently reconnected...

She Twittered:
Just heard the "smoke free wisconsin" radio ad. Yey! I'm a total supporter.
So I said:
@sisterstalk Seriously? Why you hatin' on legal drug users who have less support ~ ZERO support ~ when compared to illegal drug users?
To which she replied:
@GraciePassette I support a SMOKE FREE Wisconsin because smokers are so f*ckin rude. At least pot smokers go to their car to puff, puff.

@GraciePassette And . . . pot smokers don't throw their paraphernalia out the window, causing even more cleanup for taxpayers to pay for.

@GraciePassette AND . . . pot smokers don't blow their smoke in my face at the bar, claimin' it's their RIGHT to do so cuz it's a bar. Ugh!
As a person who thinks this smokers-as-lepers treatment tramples rights and doesn't help those addicted to tobacco at all, I naturally had to have her come on the show ~ we could have a real discussion past 140 characters. *wink*

While we promise to have a challenging discourse on the issue of smoking, our conversation may take a turn into other areas... Not only because we are two girls who hail from Wisconsin (she's apparently still there), but because Genia is a fascinating, intelligent, & passionate woman and I have no idea what else may be on her mind by the time the October 1st show rolls around.

Chime in with your thoughts on smoking, smokers' rights, health issues, smoking addiction assistance, and "smoke free" or similar "fresh air" projects & legislation.

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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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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Charlene Lanzel Joins The Cult

Tonight on Cult of Gracie Radio, artist Charlene Lanzel.

As an artist, Charlene Lanzel has worked with some of the world's top mural painters; with Breast Defense, an exhibition of one-of-a-kind plaster molds cast from the busts of legendary burlesque icons for The Keep A Breast Foundation; and creates some wonderful pin ups.

Lanzel was also a "She-Wolf" a "bodyguard" for The Dead Boys re-union tour in 1988 where she dressed in bondage and whipped the stage divers down from the stage, proof of at least one part in her "Cigarette Girl, Go-Go Dancer, Punk Rocker & Artist" billing. *wink*

It promises to be an eclectic mix of the arts ~ and opinions. Join the chaos!

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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

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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, September 3, 2008

Holy Bobobos, Dr. Susan Block Joins The Cult!

Tonight on Cult of Gracie Radio, Dr. Susan Block, sex educator, cable TV host and author, discusses what we can learn from bonobos, the chimps who have a matriarchal culture and are recognized to have sex play a prominent role in their society. Bonobos also display compassion, empathy, kindness, patience, sensitivity, and altruism. We humans could should learn a lot from these apes so closely related to us.
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 ~ and don't forget to call in!

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

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Links for 2008-08-29 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 30 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-08-27 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 28 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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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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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jeremy Edwards Joins The Cult

This week's Cult of Gracie Radio has the wildly talented (and mildly mad) Jeremy Edwards to discuss not only his own written erotic works, but the Ultimate Burlesque anthology.

The Ultimate Burlesque anthology, edited by Alyson Fixter & Emily Dubberley, is the teaserotic September release (published by Xcite Books) that is part of Burlesque Against Breast Cancer. Proceeds from the book will help raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

To tempt you into purchasing, Jeremy will be reading an excerpt from Laura The Laugher, his contribution to the book, live on the air!

While the stories in the anthology do more than tease, the part Jeremy will be reading will be teasing, tempting, and fun, but not explicit ~ just like burlesque. *wink*

We hope this helps you support a great book ~ and for a great cause.

So tune in to Cult of Gracie on XXBN, Wednesday night, August 27, at 9 PM (Central) for an hour long show.

As always, you can join the fun by calling in at 1.646.200.3136.

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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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Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-08-19 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 20 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

  • Is the print book destined for death? « Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog
    So before we go starting up a Kindle fatwah, we need to gain some perspective. People who like print books will always buy print books. The marketplace cannot ignore such a large percentage of readers. However, those who prefer the transportability, the varied features, and the ability to store a multitude of titles, not to mention being able to bookmark them, will add the Kindle to their reading repetoire.
  • Official Google Blog: Time to "Free the Airwaves"
    For quite some time we've been talking about the potential of the unused airwaves between broadcast TV channels ("white spaces") to provide affordable, high-speed wireless Internet connectivity nationwide. For this to happen, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must allow unlicensed use of this spectrum. If you care about the future of the Internet, now is the time to take action. The FCC has completed its field testing and is expected to make a ruling in the coming months.
  • A Slip of a Girl: Too Hot For Teacher ~ A Slip Of A Girl's Ultimate Guide To Putting On Hose
    While I've written this for help with the summer heat issues of hosiery in mind, please note that this works equally wonderfully in all seasons.
  • Waking Vixen " Blog Archive " I Meet the Business End of Citibank's Anti-Adult Business Policy
    "In a situation like this, I essentially have no legal recourse - the Citibank policy doesn't go against any protected rights. Businesses are totally within their rights to discriminate against people who work in any sector of the adult industry, regardless of the legality of that work. But I can (and did) take my money elsewhere, and I told them exactly why."
  • the wheels come off — day 5 - After Hours| random discourse from a retired escort
    "Drunk people with issues is one of the reasons I burned out on stripping. This is even scarier to me because the system has forced me to depend on these people for my safety. There is no safety if their minds are altered. There is no such thing as a bouncer in this brothel. I wish there were."
  • Serpent Libertine -- Sex Worker Profiles: Amanda Brooks
    "Amanda is a pretty public figure in terms of sex worker activists. She wrote The Internet Escort's Handbook, is a member of SWOP-EAST, and has appeared on Fox News and Bill O' Reilly."

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-08-15 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 16 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

  • Marketing Whore - The Assumptions About Links & Comments
    Me on Jonathan Morrow's Copyblogger post Why No One Links to Your Best Posts (And What to Do About It). "it is more than misleading, it's based on assumptions that could cost you."
  • Diane Francis: Female Gymnastics Is Always About Child Abuse
    All females who eventually become world-class gymnasts have been exploited while they are children. I think that competitive female gymnastics is really child abuse and the practice goes on in every country in the world. This is because, for females, developing Gold Medal skills is a race against puberty.
  • Carnival of the Liberals LXXI - Talking Points Edition
    If the last eight years have taught us anything - a conclusion I assume, because the proof would be difficult - it's that, if your argument can't fit in one crawl of the Fox News ticker, or can't be said by Rush Limbaugh without him having to take a codeine break, it's too complex & elitist to be correct. Bringing liberalism to the masses, then, is this edition of Carnival of the Liberals: talking points edition, with each entry boiled into a sentence-sized blurb, for your mass consumption convenience!
  • Hillary PUMAs - Handmaidens of John McCain, or Weaponized Disappointment?
    We hear Hillary-or-die movements defended on the grounds that men don't get women's issues. Rationally, it seems that, if women's issues are PUMAs' interest, doing anything to harm Barack Obama, even in the name of getting Hillary on the ticket, is the height of nearsightedness.
  • Larry Flynt: The Right to Be Left Alone Movie Details and Discussion at the Independent Film Channel - IFC.com
    In a timely response to a current political situation where the fundamental civil rights of Americans are being contested, Joan Brooker-Marks's documentary offers an eye-opening overview of Huster publisher Larry Flynt's long-standing struggles to expand the parameters of free speech and expose the hypocrisy of this country's elected leaders.
  • 'Larry Flynt: The Right to Be Left Alone' - Los Angeles Times
    With former Playboy philosopher Hugh Hefner having retired to be a bit player in a reality show about his girlfriends, Hustler Publisher Larry Flynt has become the de facto spokesman for politically progressive publishers of what may still be called "men's magazines."

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-08-13 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 14 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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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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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-08-11 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 12 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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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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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-08-09 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 10 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

  • Who Made Publishers the Morality Police? | BlogHer
    "Let the books speak for themselves. If you don't want your kid to read a book because of the author's post-publication actions then don't buy it, but you should get to decide what is suitable for your child, not the publisher."
  • Responses To Porn - Sex~Kitten.net
    Looking at porn past the trite "I like it" or the dogmatic "It's oppressive" brings down holy hellfire for sex bloggers. And I could just leave it at that, but I won't.

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-08-08 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 09 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Delicious/GraciePassette/


Links for 2008-08-07 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 08 Aug 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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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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Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Flag Is Nothing To Sniff At

Unless it's a flag used as a saddle by a naked model.


Peru wants to send Leysi Suarez to jail for up to four years for using Peru's flag as a saddle while she modeled "bareback" on a horse.
The suggestive shot of Leysi Suarez, whose main job is dancing for the band Alma Bella, or Beautiful Soul, was splashed on the cover of DFarandula magazine and has caused a political uproar as Peru prepares to celebrate the 187th anniversary of its independence from Spain on Monday.

"These are patriotic symbols that demand total respect, and using them improperly requires punishment," Defense Minister Antero Flores told reporters. "This is an offense."

Flores has ordered a public prosecutor to take up the case and file charges.

Suarez said it was patriotic to pose for the photo.

"I haven't committed a crime. I love Peru and show it with my body and soul," the dancer said on RPP radio.
I'm sure there'd be a line to sniff that flag.

I'm wondering if the trial will include an OJ "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit" moment...

I wonder if there's a porn website for that?

Image via El Comercio.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

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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Jennifer Cody Epstein On Women Finding Their Way

I'm interviewing author Jennifer Cody Epstein regarding her book, The Painter from Shanghai, on Cult of Gracie tomorrow. Her fascinating and engaging novel is 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, which went against pretty much every Confucian ethic of the time. We both thought you might like a little bit of info to whet your appetite, so Jennifer kindly agreed to a guest blog:

Growing up, reading obsessively from Woolf and Wolfe, H. James and James J., I’d always imagined patterning my own first book along the same lines. I saw it—quite modestly--as another lyrical, semi-biographical coming-of-age story; something that would draw from my own experiences as a glum, uptight teen in Wellesley, MA (the original home of prep) and somehow morph them into a luminous work of great wisdom and beauty. So how (you might wonder) does one get from that premise to my actual first novel, The Painter from Shanghai, which is based not on myself but on a woman who began life as a prostitute in pre-revolutionary China, broke away from the brothel to become an official’s concubine, and ultimately achieved both acclaim and notoriety for her overtly sensual paintings in a time of conservative backlash?

Well, it certainly wasn’t by design. At least, not at first.

The truth is, at first I actually did start out writing my own story; a not-so-lyrical tale of growing up in a suburb; of (privileged) existential angst; of family drama and expat shenanigans. I stopped for several reasons; the most prominent of which is that I simply didn’t find any of that particularly interesting or original. By contrast, when I first saw a Pan Yuliang painting (a Matisse-esque self-portrait showing her in a window, her face serene and yet somehow subtly challenging) I immediately recognized a woman who was both of those things. I’d also learned by that point that writing about someone else gives you much more freedom; largely because in autobiography, you—the subject—must try to be objective about the things that drive any good story: where the real tension lies. Where the climax should come. At what point you have reached your natural conclusion. Like most people, I suspect, I’m still trying to work that stuff out. But the process is likely far more interesting to my (very excellent) therapist than it would be to potential readers.

It’s true, of course, that taking on a story so (quite literally) foreign to my own was—at least initially—almost as daunting as publicly taking on myself. And yet, after doing some research and tracking down more Pan paintings, what had seemed a startling premise grew into a truly thrilling challenge. To be sure, most Chinese and art historians I spoke to agreed that there was very little factually known about Pan Yuliang’s life. And yet in some ways that was all the more liberating. For one thing, it led me to depend in large part on what had brought me to Pan Yuliang in the first place: her painting. The more I found of it the more they (and she) fascinated me; these gorgeous and defiantly Western compositions (often nude, often herself nude) that had so shocked her countrymen in the last century that Pan herself ended up in permanent exile, in Paris. The images—whether lush pears or lithely curved female bodies—spoke to me of an unrepentant fascination with beauty; with female strength; with sexuality; with the often-fuzzy lines that delineate culture, nationality, morality and artistic voice. If Pan Yuliang’s somber self-portraits (in only one I’ve seen is she actually, openly smiling) gave me a clue to her temperment and harsh past, her vibrant palette and fanciful blendings of post-Impressionism and guohua, of Eastern discipline and Western romance and perspective, gave me insight into her dreams, longings, her unique artistic eye—or at least, so I liked to think. At any rate, in many ways they were the strongest sources I had.

So in the end, I ended up working largely through those images; searching lines and hues and expressions for clues into the life that Pan Yuliang might have lived when she painted them. It was, as I imagined it, a life of beauty, pain and drama; of more than a hint of real darkness. Of a lush love of form and color. Oddly enough, though, as I pieced together this portrait I also--in the process—painted my own, after all. It wasn’t the Woolf -esque meditation on shattered homes and lost loves and painful lessons in the wake of adolescence. But it was a larger story, equally important to me and immeasurably more colorful; a story of an artist, finding her way. Creating her work out of unlikely and—initially—vastly alien materials. In Pan’s case, those materials were nude bodies and Western techniques and the boldly unrepentant tones of the Fauvists. In mine, they were foreign countries (China) and subjects (art; prostitution) and a shaky determination that—at very least—somehow--I would see this thing through to the last word.

And in the end, I suppose, we both succeeded. Despite an Asian art boom that is largely leaving out women, and a life that ended in poverty, illness and obscurity, Pan Yuliang is now experiencing a renaissance in China; the museum in Anhui Province (to which she left all her work when she died) recently has restored many of her paintings, and has dozens of them proudly on display.

As for me—well, Painter may not be a breakout bestseller. And I’m still just a girl who grew up in a rich suburb. But my book is being greeted warmly by the press and readers, which is gratifying. Equally importantly, it’s familiarizing more people in the West with an extraordinary woman and her work. Not least of all, it’s getting me on Cult of Gracie—something I’m fairly certain my own coming-of-age story would probably not have been able to accomplish.

J

About Jennifer: A Brooklyn-based writer, whose nonfiction and fiction work has appeared in numerous publications, spent ten years writing this, her first book. The work explores such issues as body as art, body as profit, Shanghai in the 20's and 30's, the true nature of sexual love.
Listen live to the show here, Wednesday, July 16, at 9 P.M. (central); and call in with your questions and comments at 1 (646) 200-3136.

UPDATE: Miss the show? Listen to the archived show here. (The same link lets you download it as a podcast too!)

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Who Are You & Why Are You Voting?

From Chloe Jo's fabulous GirlieGirl newsletter:
CASTING For Glamour Magazine's November voting package, we are looking for women who will tell us who they are voting for and why. The challenge is -- every submission must have something interesting/surprising/counterintuitive about it! So I need to hear from people who have surprising thoughts/opinions/plans for their vote. Examples: * the military woman who's voting for Obama because she wants the war to end * the woman who's writing in Al Gore, because she's so concerned about global warming * the Rob Paul-ite * the liberal who wants McCain because he's more fiscally conservative. It would also work to find a few 'demographic' surprises -- the Latina for McCain, the Texan for Obama, etc. If you or someone you know is casting a "surprising" vote, let me know. We'll also need a hi-res digital head shot of you! Anyone game? This is due Wednesday AM. Thanks, Melissa CONTACT:mewalker1999@yahoo.com (MENTION you are from GirlieGirl in your email).

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio with Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc

Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, award winning author of Horror Sinisteria, will be on the Cult of Gracie radio show on XXBN tonight, June 18th, at 9 p.m. central.

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.

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

Andrea has titles with Ephemera Bound, a publisher Gracie works with.

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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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Straighten-Up & Fly White

From an interview with Velvet D'Amour (via Slip of a Girl):
The biggest obstacle to the promotion of healthy beauty within the fashion industry is the dependence fashion has on advertising. Since magazines are dependent on the advertisers to exist, this beholds them to adhering to what has become the yawningly boring average--thin, white, tall and young.
I would just end with an "Amen", but as serendipity would have it, I also just read a post at Infomercantile regarding "Beauty in a Bottle", which had the following scans of "No-Kink," a hair straightening product, and "Modelle-Creme," a skin whitener.


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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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"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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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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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Positivity

From Aaminah Hernández, a simple reminder:

There is a difference between thoughtfully providing suggestions and advice for improvement of ideas versus tearing them down. How often do we tear the idea down instead of offering advice that will build it up?

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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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Obligatory Trafficking Post

Mention you are a sex worker and you'll have to answer to the trafficking issue. Here are some facts, along with my rant:

Today's trafficked slaves are also used for labor purposes which have nothing to do with sex. Isn't that equally horrible?

Human adults and children are sold for everything from farming & mining to sweat shops & begging ~ even "domestic servants" ~ and they are imprisoned and even disfigured so that they cannot runaway. Why doesn't anyone hold Merry Maids accountable for the enslaved maids, or ask a farmers union if they think they should put an end to farming because there's a trafficking problem? Where's the public outrage at these industries?

There's none.

Because it's ridiculous to hold an industry accountable for the actions taken outside of the industry, for a problem past its own scope. Slavery is the issue, not the industry itself. And so it should be with sex work. In fact, keeping prostitution illegal & stigmatizing sex work only helps those trafficking as they use the fear of police action to keep individuals from trying to get help.

And even when these companies and industries have slaves, folks just don't care about it like they do sex trafficking.

Hell, Nike knew of it's own sweatshops, and when the buying public discovered such facts they continued to buy the shoes; no one thought it necessary to put an end to making shoes or even Nike's way of making shoes with slave labor. This information didn't prompt the government to any great action, or even stop the consumption of Nike products because hell, it was only slavery.

It's the new corporate colonialism; it's fine if workers are locked in, can't use the toilets and work 12+ hour shifts with a 10 minute break.



Nike worked to keep consumers happy too. Brand your logo with a celebrity face and mention how you add to economy, and voila! you are no longer offensive. People will buy anything, even at these prices ~ and I do mean the cost in human lives.



Maybe sex work just needs the right celebrity endorsement. The dollars of adult entertainment are already known to be pretty staggering... Perhaps we need to have a 1.7 billion dollar advertising budget to get our message out.

By the way, guess the demographic of the average Nike slave? Women aged between 19 and 25.

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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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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cult of Gracie Radio With Amanda Brooks

Today Amanda Brooks, a retired escort (and former stripper) and author of The Internet Escort's Handbook series, will be on Cult of Gracie radio at 9 pm (central).

Amanda is also an activist, serving as a board member of SWOP-East and, as a board member of Desiree Alliance, she writes at the popular Bound, Not Gagged blog.

I'm very excited to have Amanda on the show. Not only is her book is brilliant, but I've found her to be amazing, passionate and dedicated ~ she even started Pledging Action, SWOP-East's response to the anti-prostitution pledge that international organizations were required to abide by in order to receive USAID funding. (Pledging Action gives condoms to international organizations that support sex workers.)

Amanda can even hold her own against Bill O'Reilly on his home turf of the The O'Reilly Factor (Monday, May 26, 2008).

Amanda's been on TV three times, each time on FOX... Where the conservative sexploitation never stops, like this gem: When most schoolgirls were playing with their Barbie dolls, Amanda Brooks was dreaming of growing up to be a prostitute.

Here's a clip:



Please join us tonight. Listen to the show live here ~ call in questions welcome!

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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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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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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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Friday, April 25, 2008

High-Five Fridays #15

#1 I could just make this week's high-fives all about me and the lovely ladies (that I know of) who helped promote the first Cult of Gracie Radio show, but then I'd be out of fives for the week, and after skipping last week's, I'm behind enough in passing along the positive links... So, I'll cheat a bit here and thank them all in #1 here: Ms. Angela (who also sent me a wonderful card celebrating the event ~ how utterlly charming is she?!), A Slip of a Girl (who also posted a too kind review), Secondhand Rose, Silent Porn Star, and Trailer Trash Angel. (I think that's everyone; if I missed anyone, please let me know!)

#2 I haven't officially met Ren, of Renegade Evolution, yet; but now that I'm officially part of SWOP East I hope to soon. Meanwhile, a high-five to Ren for just being Ren.

#3 Speaking of Ren, at first glance you might think "It's. Not. About. You." is all about Ren. But then you'd be missing the real point.

#4 Of Happy Madmen & Radio gives me pause... On one hand, it's actually amusing to read ~ who doesn't like to mock the idiocracy of yesteryear? On the other hand, have we come a long way in furthering our understanding and treatment of the mentally ill?

#5 Lina's classic post, Why Christianity hates sex (possibly), deserves a high-five ~ even if it's a bit belated.

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 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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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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Friday, April 11, 2008

High-Five Fridays #13

1) Free books at Ephemera Bound ~ buy one for you, get one for your mom for Mothers Day. Applicable to any book purchased on the site by April 18, 2008. (Note: I this is my publisher, so I am biased; but free books are always a good deal.)

2) Cogitamus is new to me, but so far, I'm interested in what I read... Perhaps a sidebar link lurks in the future.

3) Motherhood Metamorphosis: Where else can you read about the magic of nature, the pragmatics of life with special needs kids, and spend an evening at Auspie Improv?

4) My girl Slippity-Do-Da (of A Slip of a Girl fame) tells us of the The Pink & Blue Project at her "secret" blog, A Tad Too Much Tan For Taupe.

5) A rare personal post from SPS (Silent Porn Star). In Of Art Nouveau & Sublime Curves she writes about one of the every day joys of being female:
In all honesty, I've put off posting this for quite some time as I'm beginning to think (fear) that all roads lead back to Girlie Town. That somehow, in my mind, there's nothing really to point to other than a romanticism of the classic female variety, for which I feel on the defensive -- as if admitting my gender, created in no small part by (and also in spite of) our pervasive & insidious culture, is some how a fault, a flaw which will haunt me... rendering any past and all future posts to simply the opinions of a girl.

While I cannot be other than what I am (even if in my entitled position of "being in process"), there's something about being stamped A Girl which undermines credibility.

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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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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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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