Thursday, January 31, 2008



A movie that reflects real life is an opportunity to talk about the attitudes and issues you find distasteful in it (the movie, and real life).

It is a chance to get perspective on what we're taught when we're young. On how many of us, or our friends, thought about things when we were young. Amazing how the young can reflect so clearly both the good and the bad of a society, eh?

Getting drunk as a prelude to having sex is unbelievably, incredibly, common. And for most people it has nothing to do with rape (thank gods). It has to do with over coming your inhibition/phobia (socially constructed, I might add) of initiating or engaging in sex and making you more comfortable with yourself as a sexual being (again, socially constructed blocks here, especially for girls). The back and forth the boys have about their goals in this regard is probably the most criticized element I've seen.

Seth's statements (he's invariably the openly entitled male opinion) comes out of a patriarchal socially conditioned expectation that girls will not admit that they want to have sex unless they are intoxicated. As well as the fact that he is not exactly a "catch" by the same standards, thus his chances are slim to pull a girl like Becca unless she is "wearing beer goggles." As a result he figures his only chance to get sexual experience is through this method. Additionally, if it was only about getting the GIRL drunk (as I have seen suggested) neither Seth nor Evan would begin promptly drinking as well once they got to the party. Obviously alcohol was a part of the picture for them in their own minds as well. Most likely (this is my own extrapolating from how I thought as a teenager) to facilitate an "omg I was drunk" brush off should either party decide later that sexual activity was a mistake.

Engaging this movie (and really most Apatow) on surface value is missing the opportunity to talk about the problematic situations, and attitudes, that can arise out of situations like the ones in the movie. Presenting this out in the open, with what discussions even those two boys had about respecting women vs not, that is giving US the chance to take perspective from the film. While I didn't enjoy this film as much as Knocked Up, I did like it. I felt it (like Knocked Up) was excellent comedic satire.

How does this headline make sense?

This was in my NY Times email this morning:

Tainted Drugs Linked to Maker of Abortion Pill
A state-owned Chinese company is at the center of a scandal after nearly 200 Chinese cancer patients were paralyzed or otherwise harmed by contaminated drugs.

So, exactly what part does the abortion pill they make play in this particular story?

Nothing. But apparently it serves to make the story more sinister/sensational. Can I get a collective eye roll?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stars Update

Mars is out of retrograde

But Mercury is now in it.

Fortunately this is not the end of the world, and in fact may be, in my estimation, rather productive, coming away from the Mars retrograde drama.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

W T F UW?!

From Cara

A story from the Seattle Times about the violent history of the University of Washington football team and the way that UW has worked to cover up their crimes for the sake of winning games. In 2000, the year that team won the Rose Bowl, a dozen of its players had been arrested or charged with a crime within the past year, and at least a dozen others had been arrested or charged with a crime during previous years that they were on the team. Those crimes include a robbery and shooting, domestic violence that ended in a broken nose, a broken arm and lacerated face by a player who had previously served jail time for choking his wife to unconsciousness, and sexual assault.

This article tells the story of a sexual assault, how the drugging and raping of a fellow student was covered up by everyone who could have possibly helped cover it up and dropped by prosecutors despite a victim that wanted to go forward, DNA evidence, an eye witness to part of the rape (he called the police) and several other witnesses willing to testify that the victim was either drunk or drugged out of her mind.

There's more at the Curvature, but even just that completely horrifies me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Round up

Yah, 8 days straight of work is fun... And it's not over yet. As a result I have stories piled up that I wanted to share with you all, and plenty more to sort through, plus that post/review regarding Superbad that I really want to get to. So, I think it's time for another edition of "What whatsername has found interesting lately, or thinks you should know."

Changing Attitudes in Christian Clergy from the Wild Hunt
So while it may be easy to get wrapped up in the latest intolerant actions of certain Christian believers, with some of us concocting doomsday scenarios of a new "burning times", there is a very good chance that their actions represent the death-throes of certain approach to religious outsiders. The next generation of Christian leaders may surprise us by not only being literate and aware concerning modern Paganism, but by being increasingly willing to engage Pagans with mutual respect in ecumenical settings.

Gods, I can only hope! Perhaps the Age of Aquarius really is upon us?

Mt. Rainier community considers becoming a sanctuary for immigrants
Nezua says;
Because in my estimation it is either empathy and human dignity and rights for ALL....or it's selective.

Amen brother. Mt. Rainier is semi-local to me, and after a similar recent action in San Francisco, I am starting to be encouraged for our immigrant sisters/brothers situation this country.

From Feministing: Meet EMERJ
At EMERJ we are organizing for a strong and vibrant reproductive justice movement that ensures that all people have the economic, social and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies, and sexuality for ourselves, our families and our communities. We represent diverse communities and a broad set of strategies.

Nice. To learn more.

From Women's Space: The Padlocked Vagina Fistula Rapes
I don't suggest reading this if you're eating or just ate. Or if you're already incredibly depressed, and it may be triggering. That said, while I felt absolutely nauseous when I was done, I am glad I know about this issue. And I'd like to know just why the fuck it's not being covered in the mainstream media, and just why the fuck the "culture of life" assholes we have running the country aren't up in arms about this.

Via Ren, BA and BFP
LGBT youth of color are pushed out of our homes, schools, and safe spaces every day as access to vital resources and opportunities decreases. FIERCE has been opposing the private development on Pier 40 [the pier next to Christopher Street] that will further displace LGBT youth, especially youth of color, from the West Village. It is simple: development can and should meet the needs of poor people, not corporations. Now is the time to take action to SAVE THE VILLAGE and put LGBT Youth Before Profit.

It really says it all for me...

To end on an up note, I have two items of awesomeness. One is this bag. The other is magic. Ok, not really magic. But almost. Meet the vibrator that knows what you like. Or at least learns when taught. WTF? Yes! It's true! How unbelievably cool is that?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Community Building

For the record readers, community building work only happens when you actually allow discussion.

And I will never delete a comment unless it is openly disparaging or offensive to my readers, commenters, or myself. This means random comments like "you're a bitch."

Beyond that, people of any persuasion, within feminism or without, are welcome to express their views here, even if you already know I will disagree with you.

That is because I, unlike others, believe there is growth to be had in discussion with differing viewpoints. And that you can do so without violating safe space, while I do not claim my blog to be safe space, elements of it are kept in mind on my part.

Further, and most importantly, I will never allow someone's work to be discussed without giving them the chance to participate in that discussion. And I hope others will pay me that courtesy as well.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Female Genital Mutilation

When I read this story last week, I felt absolutely chilled to the bone.

When a girl is taken — usually by her mother — to a free circumcision event held each spring in Bandung, Indonesia, she is handed over to a small group of women who, swiftly and yet with apparent affection, cut off a small piece of her genitals. Sponsored by the Assalaam Foundation, an Islamic educational and social-services organization, circumcisions take place in a prayer center or an emptied-out elementary-school classroom where desks are pushed together and covered with sheets and a pillow to serve as makeshift beds. The procedure takes several minutes. There is little blood involved. Afterward, the girl’s genital area is swabbed with the antiseptic Betadine. She is then helped back into her underwear and returned to a waiting area, where she’s given a small, celebratory gift — some fruit or a donated piece of clothing — and offered a cup of milk for refreshment. She has now joined a quiet majority in Indonesia, where, according to a 2003 study by the Population Council, an international research group, 96 percent of families surveyed reported that their daughters had undergone some form of circumcision by the time they reached 14.
According to Lukman Hakim, the foundation’s chairman of social services, there are three “benefits” to circumcising girls.

“One, it will stabilize her libido,” he said through an interpreter. “Two, it will make a woman look more beautiful in the eyes of her husband. And three, it will balance her psychology.”

It just makes me want to cry. It's not like the head scarf or something. Not like male circumcision where there has been evidence of health benefits (though arguable). I truly, truly do not want to cast judgment from afar on an entire culture. But... I mean gah, just read that! "It will stabilize her libido"? STABILIZE? Given how many women require a clitoris to have an orgasm ever in their life... STABILIZE? It will KILL their libido. It will make it so the only orgasmic pleasure (most likely) is that of her husband. Thus binding her sexuality to that of her husbands (oh and apparently "make her beautiful" in his eyes thusly). Given my feelings on the fundamentalness of sexuality, I can only hope you can understand how agonizing such a prospect is to me.

What I'd really like to see them justify is how it's possible for this procedure to "balance her psychology." I can't even begin to attempt to analyze that, except to assume that it is a classic fear of female sexuality, fear of females as sexual beings, and that robbing them of that capability happily eliminates their "unnatural" needs. Or something. What makes this topic all the harder is that reading the article it's clear this is important right of passage for many young women. That it is meaningful to them. Can we retain a meaningful right of passage while getting rid of this abhorrent practice?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A fundamental right

At work I tend to be pondering topics of interest while I work. One benefit of mostly manual (mind numbing?) labor is this opportunity to day dream and consider/reconsider topics and arguments. Today I was thinking about a few things, Superbad being one and a post I shall probably have to write in the near future. Another was an idea for a series of posts, there are a number of labels which I ascribe to myself, and I was thinking it would be interesting to describe the whys of each one as I did with "sex positive."

But the thing I wanted to share with you all was this. I was thinking about the Roe V. Wade anniversary and the inevitable abortion debate that follows. For some reason the "if you don't want to have kids, don't have sex" argument popped into my head, and I rolled my eyes as I always do. I thought to myself "that's just not reasonable." But then I thought...


Why is that not reasonable?

Why is it not reasonable to expect people to refrain from sex unless they are willing and/or able to bear and raise children?

In our still largely Christian culture, we can't discount the influence of Christian thought, and I think this is one example where it is still strong. Because most people don't come back readily with an argument against this idea.

But I did, today.

This is an unreasonable expectation because human beings are (for the most part) sexual beings. Our sexuality (or asexuality) is integral to our identities and experiences as human beings. And we have an inalienable right to experience our sexuality fully. An inalienable right to express that sexuality with partners or ourselves as we see fit.

It is our RIGHT. Our BIRTHRIGHT. Sex and sexuality is a part of being human. And it is separate from the desire some of us have to procreate. The fulfillment in experiencing our sexuality is independent of procreation.

Some of us will never want to have children. That is absolutely no reason for us not to experience our birthright too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Carnivals

Up at Femtique is the new Radical carnival.

Up at Figure is the newest Feminist Carnival.

Check'm out!

Monday, January 21, 2008

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam"

Been a lot of applauding over the last few years. They applauded our total movement; they've applauded me. America and most of its newspapers applauded me in Montgomery. And I stood before thousands of Negroes getting ready to riot when my home was bombed and said, we can't do it this way. They applauded us in the sit-in movement--we non-violently decided to sit in at lunch counters. The applauded us on the Freedom Rides when we accepted blows without retaliation. They praised us in Albany and Birmingham and Selma, Alabama. Oh, the press was so noble in its applause, and so noble in its praise when I was saying, Be non-violent toward Bull Connor;when I was saying, Be non-violent toward [Selma, Alabama segregationist sheriff] Jim Clark. There's something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that will praise you when you say, Be non-violent toward Jim Clark, but will curse and damn you when you say, "Be non-violent toward little brown Vietnamese children. There's something wrong with that press!
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth with righteous indignation. It will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say, "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war, "This way of settling differences is not just."
A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men.
Let me say finally that I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. And there can be no great disappointment where there is not great love. I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster.
It is time for all people of conscience to call upon America to come back home. Come home, America. Omar Khayyam is right: "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on." I call on Washington today. I call on every man and woman of good will all over America today. I call on the young men of America who must make a choice today to take a stand on this issue. Tomorrow may be too late. The book may close. And don't let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world.

As poignant today as it was then.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Women's Studies the Bane of Feminism," what?!


In college, I steered clear of the fringe, identity-focused courses. I figured I could learn about feminism or African-American history through conscientious professors in mainstream departments.

But sadly, this isn't true. If it was true, WS and RS departments would have never formed, and wouldn't be flourishing as they are. "Mainstream" departments are absolutely effected by the issues us feminists and people of color are talking about. And you simply can't get our perspectives without seeking them out.

The demographics seemed like an admission of defeat - the world at large doesn't care, but at least we can preach to our own!

No, it's just that "our own" realize what I wrote above, and so they go, and want to learn. It's those who think they already know, and don't take seriously the critiques that WS and RS have to offer in the first place, who over look and by pass the courses.

This calls to mind some embarrassing information from my past. When looking at classes offered, I would often see the "History of Latin America" or "Race and Gender" classes and bypass them. I'd think to myself, "well, I already know people of color are kept down in this country, what else could these classes possibly tell me?" How unbelievably wrong I was.

Ways to Revolutionize Sex Work

I was directed to this post recently in a discussion about sex work. And I just have to comment on the last item, because it is on the one hand so "no duh!" and on the other something most people probably would not consider doing.


It's impossible to value sex work without letting go of assumptions and judgments about people who pay for sex.

"Some of it has to do with ego," says Klinck. "The sort of thing where guys say, 'Well, I wouldn't have to pay for it,' so they've got that attitude that those who pay for it are doing it because they have no choice, because they're undesirable, whereas that's not always the case."

People pay for sex for many reasons and under many circumstances. For some it's an easy outlet, one that, like the bathhouses, allows for sex without strings attached. For others it's a way to satisfy sexual desires that they might be hesitant to explore with a partner or where their partner just isn't interested.

"Everyone's got their own value on sex and their own needs for sex and a lot of times long-term partners aren't going to be in synch," says Klinck. "It's probably more rare for them to be in synch in a long-term relationship.

"Seeing sex workers could be seen as therapeutic in those cases. Wives and husbands will support each other for seeing massage therapists or for seeing a chiropractor but they will ignore the benefits they might get from seeing a sex worker."

While there are problem clients who try to take advantage of sex workers' marginalization, anecdotally they are the minority.

"Ninety nine point nine percent of clients are good men," says Valerie Scott. "These guys don't come from a shuttle from Mars every night and leave before sunrise. They're your fathers, they're your brothers, your physician, the guy that owns the grocery store.

They are everyone and they're fine people and they shouldn't be stigmatized for buying sex."

Recognizing the clients as part of the solution to the stigma against sex work is key to change.

"If we had people saying, 'I feel I have a right to purchase sexual services,' my God that would help because lord knows thousands of them are doing it," says Gallant. "It would be lovely to see clients participating in the decriminalization movement. It would be so thrilling."

Action: Pay for sex and become involved with the decriminalization movement as a client.

Well, yes, of course. Participate in the system as a non-exploitive, supportive member! Be a responsible consumer! Really it's something many of us could do. It's actually even something I have considered doing in the past, an easy way to achieve a NSA threesome with a woman who could actually teach me a thing or two about pleasing both men and women has a certain appeal for me. I never considered how our supportive patronage might be viewed from the worker's side though. This is a really good idea, and a chance for those of us who believe sex work must be revolutionized versus simply destroyed to put our money where our mouths are.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Three things

First, the NH House told health insurers they had to cover at home birth. This makes me incredibly happy. The Radical Doula has covered the myriad reasons why this is important many times, and if you know nothing about birthing as a business in this country, this film is a very good place to start. But to summarize, birthing, like pretty much everything else in our current society is a business. Therefore, sadly, doctors are often coming at our health issues (and especially births) not solely from the perspective of what is best for us, but what is also best for their bottom line. Forcing the health insurers to cover the not only less expensive, but in many cases more healthy, option of a home birth by mid-wife is a huge step in the right direction for many birthing women and reproductive freedom in general.

Second, Essin'Em hooked it up yesterday with a link to a new Women's Sexual Health Study put on by Indiana University on the use of lube in female sexual acts (both partnered and not). Apparently;
In recent years, there has been a growing movement by manufacturers to develop products that are responsive to consumer demands for a wider range of personal lubricants used for sexual activity. However, there has been very little research about how individuals use these products and how they would rate various lubricants in terms of sexual comfort, pleasure, sensation, texture or ease of use. A better understanding of these issues will help manufacturers design better products and will help health-related professionals better address women’s questions related to the use of such products.

Sounds like something easy, fun and useful to participate in, no? I'd encourage you to consider signing up as well!

Lastly, I read today on the No Reservations Crew Blog that Bourdain has recently taped a show in New Orleans.
“Tony wants to see how the city is recovering after Hurricane Katrina, most importantly, how the restaurants are coping with the storm and aftermath. The focus is on what Katrina did to the people and the industry.”

Needless to say, I think this could provide a heart wrenching, compelling and rather revealing look at post-Katrina NO. Not only reminding people that the people who live there are STILL dealing with the aftermath of that hurricane, but also providing a context wherein viewers can relate to those people. All good things. I'm very excited for this episode.

And you know, between his happening to be in Beirut during the bombings, and this show, Bourdain seems to be becoming more of a "historian" of sorts than I bet he thought he could ever be.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Who Cares if a Few Dykes Get Banned from Digg?


Got your attention? Good. Recently I’ve become aware of a strange situation at Digg, where a few quality lesbian articles have been systematically buried and lesbian Diggers have been banned, with no response from Digg. Why should you care?

After reading this story, I got scared. I’m not a lesbian, but I care, because this is exactly the sort of things, we internet dwellers should be worried about. As content creators and consumers, we can’t allow de-democratization of the web. It will be the end of free speech on the web.

“It’s Democratic- the Majority of Diggers Don’t Care for this Content”

I’ve spoken with a few people on the subject, for the past couple of days, and this objection came up every time. I disagree. These stories never reached much over 20 Diggs, it would only take as many buries to make them disappear. The option to report a story also makes it quite easy to make it go away. To strengthen my point, that there is an alternative Digg, just type the term “gay rights” in the Digg search box, and look through an endless list of pro-gay stories, (too bad more than 95% haven’t risen above 2 Diggs).

“Well if it Wasn’t Porn, Why Did the Digg Staff Block it?”
That’s a great question! What the hell is the Digg team doing, blocking none-offensive material? And why would it ban its own users, if they were on the up-and-up? Stories by Gay Parents, a sub-blog at, surly couldn't be porn, right?

So I come to a worrying conclusion: There are a few homophobic Diggers out there, burying stories and reporting gay Diggers, and Digg is either irresponsibly banning without checking the facts, or actively supporting homophobia. Either way, they are not dealing with this issue as I would, personally, see fit, of a social network.

It Scares The Shit Out of Me
And that’s why I care. Because if it’s gays, now, who’s to say blacks aren’t next? Asians? Hispanics? Jews? Women? And maybe it won’t be just Digg? Maybe all the other social networks? Maybe the whole of the web?

Am I over reacting? You tell me. Is there a difference between banning lesbians with lesbian-interest stories, or banning Jews with Jewish-interest stories? Diggers have told me of hateful, disturbing comments. A Short search could lead you to this seemingly innocent example.

Ban Digg!
Many of the gay community have opted to ban Digg, in protest. And my initial reaction was quite similar. But after turning it over in my mind, knowing I’m writing this article, an interesting idea popped into my head:

Don’t ban Digg!

Think of a workers strike: What would be more effective? If the strikers sat home and waited to be begged by their company to come back to work. Or if the strikers gathered around their company buildings, chanting and singing, till their throats are hoarse and they can’t sing any more?

I took the liberty of compiling a 100 Digg articles, which are of gay interest. I want every one reading this article, to follow these links and Digg every one of these stories. These are quality gay-targeted content- no porn, no spam. Some are fun, some are sad, some are political. I want to see gay stories take the front page of Digg! Maybe that’ll get the Digg team to acknowledge the situation, which has been inflaming gays and straights alike.

Don’t ban Digg- give it another voice! I’m sure not every Digg user is a homophobic. I know for a fact, there are plenty of us out there, who love to read this content, or at least want to know that the content is not being censored.

Please follow the link at top to her original post, and link list!!!!

I think this is important shit and we should work together on it!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Stuff I've Been Reading

Paper Geist

Lesbians Are Still Dangerous
I have heard so many stories like this, particularly since becoming part of the Michfest community– lesbian women, in particular, gender nonconforming lesbians, describing vicious, brutal attacks they have experienced through the years. In most cases, the perpetrators are never brought to justice. In all cases, the sole reason for the brutality is that these are women who love women and who dare to resist gender, who defy all of the rules and regulations by way of which male heterosupremacy attempts to police the appearance, presentation, behavior, and intimate life of female persons.

science blogs
this article does make a very good case that you can't be a feminist and religious at the same time. Even the most peaceful religions, like Jainism and Buddhism, treat women as inferiors.

Crying Men
Crying Men is a series of photographic portraits of famous film actors. Taylor-Wood makes portraits of her subjects as actors; she shoots them in role, asking each to perform and cry for the camera and demands the actor’s investment in the process. These are no passive sitters.

121 Veterans Have Been Charged With Murder Since Returning Home
The Times said the numbers indicated a nearly 90 percent increase in homicides involving active-duty military personnel and new veterans since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. The Times said about one-third of the victims were spouses, girlfriends, children or other relatives. The Times reports that while many of the veterans showed signs of combat trauma, they were often not evaluated for or diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder until after the homicides.

People Spoke...
Last night, I was lucky enough to be part of the audience for a taping of a segment for "The People Speak," a new production based on historian and social activist Howard Zinn's classic A People's History of the United States. An impressive cast of actors, writers, and musicians are involved with the project, which takes various speeches, poems, songs, and articles written by ordinary people and historic figures, and gives them new life. The miniseries will be split into four parts, according to the themes of class, gender, war, and race.

Drug Approved. Is Disease Real?
For patient advocacy groups and doctors who specialize in fibromyalgia, the Lyrica approval is a milestone. They say they hope Lyrica and two other drugs that may be approved this year will legitimize fibromyalgia, just as Prozac brought depression into the mainstream.

Jurors in a Cape Cod Murder Case Testify About Racial Remarks
The defendant in that trial, Christopher M. McCowen, is serving a life sentence for raping and killing Christa Worthington, a white fashion writer from a wealthy family, at her bungalow in Truro in 2002. But three jurors now say that others made racist remarks during the trial; if Judge Gary A. Nickerson of Barnstable Superior Court finds those contentions credible, he could order a new trial.

A Terror Threat in the Courts
After all, the primary purpose of counterterrorism is the prevention of future acts, while the criminal law has developed primarily to punish conduct that has already occurred. The question raised by the Padilla trial is whether a case about an attack that never actually happened can be tried in the criminal courts without transforming the nature of that system itself.

Sex and Disability
People with disabilities may even have trouble seeing themselves as sexual, wondering if others (their partners included) really find them attractive, especially if their disability makes their body look different than society's normal standard of beauty. With social pressure, physical issues, and personal frustrations all working against them in some way, it's easy to see that those who are differently-abled may find it hard to become sexually active. Here are some general tips, ideas, and pieces of information if you, a partner, or a friend may have an impairment that challenges their view of sexuality as society defines it.

Against Censorship
Conveniently, since the bill was introduced in 2004, the government’s definition of ‘extreme’ pornography has been expanded to include some kinds of homosexual porn. Giving the state license to say what is and is not criminal pornography gives it license to suddenly decide that the tastes and interests of any non-mainstream group should be penalised

There's just so much... Sometimes I read through the paper and stuff and just can't decide what on earth to talk about...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

No. 5

Unfortunately, feminists and political correctioneers taught modern men through sexual harassment charges and lawsuits to keep their mouths shut. So, modern women don’t receive the manly compliments they desire.


Yes, because I am just SO MISSING ALL THOSE COMPLIMENTS from guys who want to SEXUALLY HARASS ME!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How can we make sex work MORE illegal?


A new version of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TPRVA 2007/11) just passed the House (as H.R. 3887) and is now on its way to the Senate. While it contains some laudable legislation combating forced labor and child soldiering, it also, once again, targets voluntary sexual labor by conflating it with forced prostitution and sex trafficking. It contains a very sweeping section outlawing "sex tourism" (the section in question can be found on pages 69–72 of the text of the bill), which it basically defines as any movement over into or out of the United States for purposes of performing or purchasing "illicit sexual acts", which includes any and all commercial sexual services. Existing legislation prohibits traveling abroad to purchase sex with minors; the new legislation expands this to include sex with consenting adults, even in countries where this is legal. (For example, an American who buys sex in an Amsterdam brothel would be subject to Federal prosecution back in the US.) Notably, it also criminalizes travel to or from the US to sell sexual services as well. (For example, a Montreal escort who travels to an American city to sell sex would be further criminalized under Federal law, in addition to existing local law.) Basically, it resurrects the Mann Act and internationalizes it.

I don't get it. What possibly justifies this invasion into people's privacy?? I mean I understand about wanting to prosecute people who go abroad to get sex from 11 year olds, but why do law makers have to be so incredibly stupid and unspecific, lumping people like that together with all the other possibilities?!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


So, Anthony Bourdain has a blog, which I just yesterday discovered, and which made me incredibly happy, because his show on Travel is one of the very few things I miss about not having cable.

Is it absolutely terrible that his making fun of my old boss (and hubby's current boss) made me break out into fangirl grinning?

Michael Ruhlman had cut and pasted something for me and sent it along for my "immediate attention". It indicated under "subject" that it had originated from the Food Network and it looked like a press release, so I assumed it would be of about as much interest to me as Guy Fieri's hair styling tips or Carrot Top's breakfast preferences.


But you know, it is true.

**I was so excited I posted this before I even found this, further down**

There's last year's Great Hope, Guy Fieri, who reminds me of the "Poochie" character in the classic Simpson's episode where it is decided that Itchy and Scratchy need a "hip, in-your-face, pro-active" new sidekick to bring in a younger demographic. Poochie (and seemingly Guy) is created by committee and an assemblage of compiled stats from focus groups: "Twenty percent more rasta" "needs more surfer"...


Why Bush Must Go

Via the WP
By George McGovern

From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's assumption of power was the product of questionable elections that probably should have been officially challenged -- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.

In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law. This reckless disregard for life and property, as well as constitutional law, has been accompanied by the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

I have not been heavily involved in singing the praises of the Nixon administration. But the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney is far stronger than was the case against Nixon and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew after the 1972 election. The nation would be much more secure and productive under a Nixon presidency than with Bush. Indeed, has any administration in our national history been so damaging as the Bush-Cheney era?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


More in my criticism series. Where we learn that;

Women need affection, men don’t, and so men are weak at providing it. Men need respect, women don’t, and so women are weak at providing it.

What complete and utter bullshit. PEOPLE need BOTH of these things.

News stories of interest

The first feminist book store in Turkey

Amargi takes its name from a Sumerian word meaning freedom and "returning to mother." It aims to unite the experiences of women and academia and to develop feminist analysis and policies at the same time.

"We develop feminist thought and feminist policies through an analysis of current problems and through the organization of seminars and workshops, and by publishing books," Selek said, emphasizing that Amargi has been active in politics as a cooperative for seven years. In addition to the quarterly Amargi journal that has been published for the past two years, the feminist bookstore is both the outcome and the driving force of the organization's efforts.

Such an encouraging step for this country. This is exactly what I have been hoping to see out of the dominantly Muslim countries. I really hope that western feminist will lend their support however they can to this venture.

Gloria Steinem's NY Times editorial from earlier this week.

THE woman in question became a lawyer after some years as a community organizer, married a corporate lawyer and is the mother of two little girls, ages 9 and 6. Herself the daughter of a white American mother and a black African father — in this race-conscious country, she is considered black — she served as a state legislator for eight years, and became an inspirational voice for national unity.

Be honest: Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be elected to the United States Senate? After less than one term there, do you believe she could be a viable candidate to head the most powerful nation on earth?

She's got a point. But there are also some problems with her conclusion.

Via NY Times, how poor, non-white people's diseases simply don't attract the funds of others.

“Sleeping sickness” is too benign a nickname for human African trypanosomiasis, which is caused by a protozoan spread by biting tsetse flies. When the parasites enter the brain, victims hallucinate wildly. They have been known to chase neighbors with machetes, throw themselves into latrines and scream with pain at the touch of water. Only at the end do they lapse into a lassitude so great that they cannot eat, followed by coma and death.

About 150,000 people contract the disease each year, but 50 million people in 36 countries live in areas where they are at risk.
After critics accused Sanofi-Aventis of catering to vain rich women while letting poor Africans die, the company agreed to make an injectable form of the drug and now gives it free to the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders.

But in rural Africa, eflornithine is very hard to use. Patients need intravenous infusions four times a day for two weeks. When a “hospital” is a row of iron beds under a thatched roof, and the “nursing staff” is mostly relatives of the sick who sleep on the floor, round-the-clock treatment is hard. There might be no night nurse to insert an IV line.

It really is sad how situations like this continue to exist. Especially alongside people trying to claim racism and classism don't exist anymore.

A cool new MOMA exhibit: Prefab Housing

To many people the term “prefab housing” calls to mind trailer parks. Yet lately prefabricated houses — built off site and then delivered largely complete — have become fashionable at architecture schools and among an upscale segment of the housing market. They pose a considerable design challenge.

Seizing the moment the Museum of Modern Art has commissioned five architects to erect their own prefab dwellings in a vacant lot on West 53rd Street, adjacent to the museum. Whittled down from a pool of about 400, the five architects are participating in “Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling,” an exhibition opening in July.

This is really exciting! Pre-fab housing has the potential to make house building in general so much more eco-friendly. I was reading about them in Dwell magazine's recent "Green Issue" and the possibilities really seem endless, if only we can get people interested in them.

You're selling yourself!

How many times have you heard this in relation to sex work (porn, stripping, prostitution, etc.)?

And you know, I've even seen through it, in past discussions, but I was still missing a piece of the puzzle. The part I recognized was, no, sex work is providing a service. You're not some slave (naturally we're talking about sex work voluntarily entered into and not the various sex trades that despicably still exist in our world). We don't look at non-nude models, or actresses, or waitresses for that matter, and say "omg you're selling yourSELF by using yourSELF to provide a service!" And that's not even getting started on the issue of this perspective reducing "self" to some very specific body parts and actions taken by those body parts, which is in of itself unbelievably maligning and offensive.

The piece I was missing however, I read today at Renegade Evolution:
When something is bought or sold, it implies ownership. You buy a car, you own it. You buy a pair of shoes, you own them...What ever other reasons or motivations rest behind a woman or mans decisions to get involved in sex work, be it stripping or erotic massage or porn or nude modeling or prostitution, they are not owned. They are not bought. They are not selling themselves. They are providing a service, which does not result in ownership.

That is it right there. There is no ownership. We use our bodies to provide many services, potentially, sexual services should be no different for those who wish to provide them. Honestly anything beyond recognizing the difference between willing and unwilling participants and working to make CERTAIN that all participants are willing, is making value judgments on other people (mostly women's) life choices. And as I've said before I'm not down with that.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Since I can't possibly say it better...

I give you...

Seriously, do you not see it? Do you not see that all this is nothing more than further division, placed in the system to keep the plebes from getting together and really changing anything? The idea that one person's movement is better than or more than another person's movement, when those two movements have similar goals is just lunacy. I think of it more as code switching, speaking to the audience you have or are after. What does a beginner's manual take away from advanced study? They are meant for different audiences. One group working on one aspect of an issue need not be absorbed into some other group. You work on your thing, I'll work on my thing and where our things overlap, we work together; you use your expertise and experience to combat it your way and I will use my expertise and experience to combat it my way and we'll coordinate efforts for maximum effect, if workable. The more surface area exposed, the faster the melting, right?

This is such a fine, but such an important, line to walk. More and more as I see the interactions, especially within feminism, between different strains of thought, I realize just how fine. It's easy to justify laziness with "I'm speaking to my audience." It's easy to accuse of laziness what is actually speaking to an audience. It's easy to criticize because the group you're passionate for is getting left out. It's easy to overlook, and leave out, groups you're not passionate for.

But these all are part of the greater whole. Which is what I was getting at with my strength through diversity post. To approach those places where we overlap and interact with as much sensitivity and lack of defensiveness is the best we can do. To come to terms with it when we are called out for lacking that is the second best.

I still have high hopes we will learn this, in our opinionated, passionated and incredibly diverse movement.

Arrests for activism

Tuesday January 1, 2008 11:31 PM

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi authorities have detained a popular blogger for violating the kingdom's laws, a senior Interior Ministry official said Tuesday. It was the first known arrest of a Saudi online critic.

The blogger, Fouad al-Farhan, was being questioned by security authorities, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Monsour al-Turki said. He added the blogger might be released on Wednesday but did not elaborate.

The Saudi English daily, Arab News, said al-Farhan had ``violated non-security regulations.'' The paper said the 32-year-old Jeddah resident was arrested at his office Dec. 10 and taken to his home where police conducted a search. There were no other details.


Ronak Safarzadeh, 21, a member of the One Million Signatures Campaign for women’s rights in Iran and, like Delaram Ali, a participant in the peaceful demonstrations for women’s rights in Iran and mentioned in Delaram’s open letter below, was arrested a few weeks ago. Her home was ransacked by authorities and her computer was seized. Ronak has not been allowed any contact with her family and officials will not provide her family with any information about her. They do not know where she is or anything about what is happening to her, although they learned in this past week that her arrest order was renewed and that she has not been provided with an attorney. On November 3, her mother attempted to ask judiciary officials about her daughter’s condition and location and was beaten by them instead.

Each of these women has been active in gathering signatures in support of women’s family and human rights in Iran. They spend 15-30 minutes speaking with Iranian citizens about justice for women and asking them to sign the petition. When officials arrest these women, they are seizing these signatures as well.


I don't have much to add. I wanted to highlight both of these cases for what should be obvious reasons. Governments acting this way get me all riled up.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Thought-crimes in our future?

On October 23, 2007, the House passed a bill sponsored by California Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman, chairwoman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, that overturns the constitutionally guaranteed rights to free expression, association, and assembly.

The bill passed the House on a vote of 404-6. In the Senate the bill is sponsored by Maine Republican Susan Collins and apparently faces no meaningful opposition.

Harman’s bill is called the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act.” When HR 1955 becomes law, it will create a commission tasked with identifying extremist people, groups, and ideas. The commission will hold hearings around the country, taking testimony and compiling a list of dangerous people and beliefs. The bill will, in short, create massive terrorism in the United States. But the perpetrators of terrorism will not be Muslim terrorists; they will be government agents and fellow citizens.

We are beginning to see who will be the inmates of the detention centers being built in the US by Halliburton under government contract.

Who will be on the “extremist beliefs” list? The answer is: civil libertarians, critics of Israel, 9/11 skeptics, critics of the administration’s wars and foreign policies, critics of the administration’s use of kidnapping, rendition, torture and violation of the Geneva Conventions, and critics of the administration’s spying on Americans. Anyone in the way of a powerful interest group--such as environmentalists opposing politically connected developers--is also a candidate for the list.

The “Extremist Beliefs Commission” is the mechanism for identifying Americans who pose “a threat to domestic security” and a threat of “homegrown terrorism” that “cannot be easily prevented through traditional federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts.”

This bill is a boon for nasty people. That SOB who stole your girlfriend, that hussy who stole your boyfriend, the gun owner next door--just report them to Homeland Security as holders of extreme beliefs. Homeland Security needs suspects, so they are not going to check. Under the new regime, accusation is evidence. Moreover, “our” elected representatives will never admit that they voted for a bill and created an “Extremist Belief Commission” for which there is neither need nor constitutional basis.


To say this makes me apprehensive is a vast, vast understatement. Another era of even more entrenched, institutionalized McCarthyism? Our country could be headed down a very, very scary path.

Oscar Ayala-Cornejo

Via the NY Times

The authorities say that in violating the law, Mr. Ayala-Cornejo made himself vulnerable to blackmail and assaults on his credibility that could have jeopardized police investigations. “You can’t be a law enforcement officer when you yourself are breaking the law,” said Gail Montenegro, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
He did not know he was in the United States illegally, he said, until as a teenager he told his father that he wanted to enroll in a police apprenticeship program.

“I could tell there was something wrong: he just had that look in his face,” Mr. Ayala-Cornejo said. “Like something inside him was a little crushed.”

The next day, he said, his father told him the truth. He could not pursue law enforcement. He could even be deported. “From one moment to the next,” Mr. Ayala-Cornejo said, “all my dreams and hopes are kind of out the window.”

Mr. Ayala-Cornejo could have ultimately gained legal status because his brother was born in the United States, but it would have taken a decade or more, his lawyer says, and he would have had to leave his family in the meantime and return to Mexico.

His father, Mr. Ayala-Cornejo said, came up with a solution: A cousin in Illinois had a son, Jose A. Morales, a United States citizen who had died of leukemia in Mexico. He and Mr. Ayala-Cornejo would have been about the same age, and the family offered to turn over Jose’s birth certificate and Social Security number so Mr. Ayala-Cornejo could realize his dream.

“I didn’t hesitate,” he said. “I was like, ‘O.K., if that’s the best option, then I’ll go for it, because I don’t want to be separated from my family.’ ”

So at age 16, Mr. Ayala-Cornejo switched high schools, registering under his new name. He cut his hair and, abandoning his eyeglasses, started wearing contact lenses. In public, he referred to his mother and father as his aunt and uncle, and he called his siblings cousins. “In a way, I became Jose,” he said, “because I knew there was no going back.”

But in February of this year, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent received a tip that Oscar Ayala-Cornejo had assumed the name of Jose Morales. In May, he was arrested.

Mr. Ayala-Cornejo’s brother, Alexander, who was born in this country and had also joined the Milwaukee police, was dismissed from the department for lying to a federal agent about his brother’s whereabouts, but was reinstated on appeal.

Criminal justice officials say Mr. Ayala-Cornejo’s actions could have put their work at risk, for instance by compromising prosecutions in which he gave testimony. “Asked to testify,” said Mel S. Johnson, an assistant United States attorney who prosecuted the case against him, “the first question is state your name and spell your last name. It would be a false answer immediately.”

“Ironically,” Mr. Johnson said, “if he was a citizen, he would have been considered a good citizen.”

A bill that would have given legal status to illegal immigrants who graduated from high school in this country, as Mr. Ayala-Cornejo did, failed in the Senate in October. Opponents argued that it would reward those who broke the law.

One of the biggest problems our country has, is it's tendency to "other"ing people. To making them less than human because you've never had to, or tried to, put yourself in the myriad shoes they walk in. "Illegals" are a huge scapegoat for this tendency, and it makes me sad, thus the highlighted portion at the end.

Thoughts on Pagan Vegetarianism

By, Lupa

Speaking for myself, I respect all the spirits equally, though I tend to work with animal spirits most often while walking my path. I do not discriminate between types of spirit; a plant spirit deserves as much respect as an animal spirit, and the grass is just as important as the ancient oak tree.

Humans have a tendency, even pagan humans, to place beings in our world (both physical, and their spiritual counterparts) into a hierarchy, with humans at the top, and those beings that most resemble humans higher than those that are more alien to us.

Therefore, we assume that because a spirit in a non-human animal body experiences pain and suffering in the same way we do, then its death must be more important than that of a spirit embodied in a plant body, which may not have the same sort of nervous system. Additionally, the individual oak, bigger than we are, evokes more respect than the communal grass that we tread upon.

As an omnivorous pagan, I respect the life that must be given up to feed me, regardless of the type of suffering it may or may not experience. When I make soup, the carrot that was uprooted is just as important as the chicken that went into the broth. It's still a matter of energy transference that requires me to take from another spirit being, and to deprive it of its physical form. The only way I could avoid doing otherwise would be to subsist solely on fruit and nuts that can be harvested without killing the plant.
I cannot deny the effects my choices have. Therefore it's essential for me to be conscious of these effects as I take action. For example, choosing to eat meat has a number of potential consequences:

--If I do not buy free range meat, I'm probably purchasing the flesh of an animal that lived in a crowded stockyard or barn under inhumane conditions. Even if I do buy free-range, the death the animal experiences may still be highly stressful. Additionally, sometimes "cage-free" chicken means she was still stuck in a crowded barn, just not in a cage.

--Depending on where my meat comes from, I may be contributing to habitat destruction.
--If I purchase from an individual farmer who raises livestock and offers the meat to sell at a farmer's market, I support an individual rather than a corporate conglomerate.
--Not eating meat has historically adversely affected my health, no matter what dietary precautions I took. I was hungry all the time, my energy dropped, and I got sick easier.
Rituals and Totems

I've been working with "food totems" for some time now, the totem animals that represent species we often only associate with food, such as Pig and Chicken. In my belief system, totems are archetypal beings that embody all the qualities of a species, from biology to folklore, though they do have independent existences rather than simply being figments of the psyche.

My goal is to build healthy relationships with these totems, not only to learn from them but also to find out what I can do to help them and their physical counterparts. They're understandably upset by the current state of things, and at first I had a lot of trouble getting them to communicate with me beyond them venting their anger. But we've had some constructive interactions, especially recently.

While I don't currently hunt or raise my own meat, I do sometimes work rituals into the preparation of store-bought meat. For example, I bought a whole free-range chicken and did a ritual in honor of her spirit as well as the totem Chicken.

A really interesting article. I don't personally work with totems, but the concept, from what I understand of it, makes sense to me. I tend to, similar to this author, keep in mind the sacrifice made by an animal when I prepare it to be food. I am better about this some days than others, and continue to strive to be more mindful of it. Ideally, I'd also like to incorporate giving thanks ("saying grace") before a meal, to give voice to my thankfullness. And being mindful of every choice and consequence of that choice as best as possible is a key ingredient in my relationship with my omnivorous diet.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Declaration against NAFTA and La Migra

via Lorna Dee Cervantes and BFP:

Declaration Against the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Migra

To All Communities in Resistance to Exploitation and Oppression.
To All Communities in Struggle for Indigenous Peoples’ Dignity and
To All Communities of the World.

We are the Frente Contra las Redadas del Condado de Ventura. We are a network of organizations, collectives and individuals that was formed in 2007, when Union del Barrio, one of the oldest Mexican Liberation organizations north of the U.S./Mexico border called for broad unity and organized resistance against the increased racist laws and Migra-terror against migrants.

Today, January 1st 2008 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) enters its final stage of implementation. NAFTA, since its inception, was designed to help the rich U.S. Agriculture and Industrial Corporations take over the markets of Mexico and destroy the small farms and national industries. It has caused millions of displaced or unemployed Raza to move to the cities or migrate to what today is the United States and Canada.

According to America’s Policy Program analysts, “Every hour, Mexico imports $1.5 million dollars worth of agricultural and food products, almost all from the United States” While, “In that same hour, 30 people—men, women, and children—leave their homes in the Mexican countryside to take up the most dangerous journey of their lives—as migrants to the United States.” (America’s Policy Program Congressional Briefing, “Standing Up to NAFTA”)

For the rich this is good news, but for us, the working poor, it signals more poverty, more repression, and more death. This is why we resist. We resist the oppression and exploitation of our work, our lands, our community, and of our dignity.

Every year over 400 people die crossing the U.S./Mexico border, a border that each day is more militarized. Every day this Wall of Death stretches onward, inch by inch, and everyday more Migra agents are added to the ranks, signed ujp to terrorize and chase down workers like hunted animals. Every day, some racist politician or their lackey, conjures up new legal ways to implement their laws of oppression against migrants, against the workers that come across the
Wall of Death.

The Migra has unleashed a wave of repression against migrants, against workers, men, women and children with laws and plans like Operation Gatekeeper, a plan that forces migrants to cross the border through the deserts to die. At the same time, another vicious plan to repress us is Operation Endgame, a plan that aims to deport 12 million undocumented workers out of the United States by the year 2012.

The cycle of fear and death continues and now the very same campesinos that are forced off our lands in Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas, and other areas of Mexico, are here in the barrios of the United States, waking up at 4 a.m. everyday, to go pick the same crops that are shipped off around the world, making those at the top richer, while we at the bottom get poorer.

Just as our brothers and sisters, the Zapatistas, descended down from the Chiapas Lacandon Jungle on the eve of 1994 when the first phase of NAFTA was implemented, we today, fourteen years later, on this eve of 2008, in one of the oldest Mexican barrios in California, el Barrio de La Colonia, declare Ya Basta! Enough is Enough! We call on all those that stand on the side of humanity to join us and fight for justice and dignity.

We will organize for the next four months in preparation for our March for Dignity that will take place on International Workers’ Day, May 1, 2008 in Colonia Park, here in the city of Oxnard. Meet us here, march with us. If you cannot come, organize a March for Dignity in your community, wherever you are.

But as we march, we must understand that we cannot just march for one day or believe that politicians will solve our problems. We must organize ourselves. As our Zapatista sisters and brothers said in the First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, we must organize and struggle for work, land, housing, food, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.

We are in the same struggle as our Chiapaneco brothers and sisters, because we are, as we said loud and clear in the Mega-Marchas of 2006 against the racist law HR-4437, One People Without Borders!

Stop NAFTA! Stop Migra-Terror!
El Pueblo Unido! Jamas Sera Vencido!

Frente Contra Las Redadas del Condado del Ventura
January 1, 2008
Chumash Peoples’ Territory

NAFTA, has got to go. Do what you can to make it happen.

Another reason to support Kucinich in '08.

Why sex-positive?

In my daily blog reading, it seems like I've been coming across a lot of anti-porn posts of late. While I sympathize with anti-porn feminists, sometimes their generalizing makes me want to tear my hair out. Decrying all porn says to me that they believe porn can't be done in a pro-woman, pro-pleasure, non-degrading way.* To me, that's giving up on something that could be incredibly valuable.

Basically, here is the situation as I see it.

We consume a LOT of porn. This is not going to change. Now, that is not an argument for keeping something, necessarily, but it is an element in assessing the situation with porn in our society.

And honestly, there is something to be said for the pleasure of watching sexual acts. Isn't it possible to translate the pleasurable acts many of us participate in, to a screen format for others to view? And if we are depicting acts truly enjoyed by the participants where is the appropriation or misrepresentation that anti-porn fem's decry?

Feminist porn has taken that philosophy and run with it, to the benefit of many. Working further with it, and working to promote feminist porn*, can only aid in changing the porn industry as a whole. Creating more awareness of feminist porn and marketing it to EVERYONE, can only help with the objectification we find in regular porn, can't it?

For me the goal here is to do just that. If we can get feminist porn into the mainstream of consumption, then things will change. Representing real pleasure and female empowerment/ownership of their sexuality and sexual needs can only be beneficial! The more that it is viewed, the harder it gets to reconcile real pleasure with the degrading representations of it that much of current mainstream porn relies on.

For me, anti-porn feminism has given up an important fight, and they have vastly over simplified our wonderfully complex sexual natures. There is a time and place for objectification, there is a time and place even for degradation in some people's sexual lives. By taking the stances it does, anti-porn feminism condemns these practices wholesale, and by so doing, shames the women who derive sexual pleasure from such activities.

I've had enough of shaming women's expressions of their sexual pleasure. And I've had enough of people thinking they are in the position to make other people's decisions for them. Feminism is about educating and empowering women to make their own choices, but judging sex workers decisions does not further this agenda. In fact it is perpetuating some of the very worst of the patriarchal attitudes we are trying to overthrow.

This is why I am so strongly sex-positive. I come from the baseline of "sex is good, expression of sexuality is good, representation of sexuality CAN BE good" and I approach the issues of sex work of various stripes (pornography included here) from there. What I'm most interested in cultivating is women having authentic relationships with their sexuality and sexual desires (as well as career choices). Secondary to that, I am interested in spreading those authentic identities into the mainstream, so that men (and non-feminist women) will understand just what empowered female sexuality looks like.

When men and women can truly recognize this, I believe things will change. Porn will change, parts of our rape culture will change, objectification and appropriation of women and their bodies will change. These things will have to change, because once recognized, I don't think people will enjoy the fake stuff anymore.

Ultimately, I think women have been judged enough, I think we have been told what to think, how to feel, and how to be in this world, ENOUGH. Feminists are the last people who should be furthering that sort of agenda. And I am not interested in participating in it.

*I want to put in a clarification on these points, and that is in acknowledging the wide variety that is human sexuality. When I talk about "feminist porn" I don't even necessarily mean porn that self identifies as feminist. For me, any porn that is pro-woman, pro-pleasure; where the chick gets off as much as the guy, is feminist porn. What humans derive pleasure from is diverse, and I want to acknowledge that. What I want to see an end to, are wide spread practices that serve only to degrade, and which I do not believe enough women derive pleasure from to justify how widespread that practice is. Among other things, the "money shot" is a prime target here, cum fetishes are not nearly common enough to justify how often I see this annoyingly degrading and misogynistic act in porn. Another example close to my heart is the way anal sex is enacted, yah fucking right that's how people do it to actually derive pleasure from it.

P.S. All you anti-porn feminists out there. My identifying as sex positive does not mean I am thusly casting you as sex negative. In fact, I don't put you in that category. I do, however, believe that society is sex negative, and my identification with the label "sex positive" is partly in response to that. But basically, it's not all about you.