Tag Archives: personal politics

Girl Guilt

I stood in front of the bathroom mirror running my hands over the marks he’d left on me. Little nibbles and scratches, like sexual graffiti on my skin. Flashes of his flesh surged through my mind and I smiled as I fantasized about what we could do the next time.

And then it hit me.

Girl Guilt.

A knot of post-sex shame tangled inside of me. I’d violated the most primary tenet of female sexuality: Continue reading

The Porn That Could Be

Dear Porn Producers of the World:

Many of you are terrible at what you do. You seem to care more about finishing a shoot in one day, getting the pop shot and marketing whatever cheap,crappy rendition of sexually exciting material you’ve made than creating something of real quality.You aren’t even offending me. You are boring the hell out of me.

This demeans how amazing sex can be. Continue reading

Why the Alexa Di Carlo Thing Matters

A wise friend once said, in reference to dating, “It sucks to put your trust in an untrustworthy person.”

Truer words could not apply to the Alexa Di Carlo scandal. I think this paragraph from Expose A Bro, the blog that is outing Alexa as Thomas “Pat” Bohannan, sums up the accumulated violations pretty well:

Bohannan wasn’t just harmlessly getting his kicks maintaining an anonymous blog where he could live out fantasies of being a desirable woman. He knowingly spread lies about sex work, advocated unsafe sexual practices, had sexually-inappropriate online interactions with underage youth, all the while passing himself off as an academic and trusted adult who is trained in human sexuality. (Refuted here.) He used bold-faced lies about his qualifications to try and discredit real sexuality activists, and laughed at their setbacks. He stole images from real models and passed them off as him– implicating these innocent bystanders as suspects in his activities. He bullied one activist by harassing her via email, and gleefully celebrated the demise of a valued sex workers rights publication, $pread Magazine. He threatened to expose another sex blogger. He purposefully mislead and misinformed his large online audience about important sexuality issues. He tricked escorts into talking to him and having sex with him by using “Alexa” to vouch for him as being a safe and respectful client. (More escorts are talking privately about feeling violated by having had sex with this con artist.) He ran a “sex education” message board where minors trusted him enough to share nude photographs of themselves.

Providing sex education for young people is difficult enough as it stands: dealing with fundamentalist groups determined to eradicate any talk of sex in schools, worrying losing your job for uncensored sex discussions, struggling for legitimacy in academia, making your voice heard above the din of bad advice from recognized experts and even defending oneself from personal character attacks.

So when someone makes a fake identity and starts doling out sex information using false credentials, this job gets much, much harder.

And when young people come forward about this person soliciting nudie pics from minors? Sheer litigious rage bubbles forth.

(I’m not even going to get into a discussion about the deplorable way Bohannan allegedly used the false sex worker identity to gain the trust of actual sex workers so he could employ their services. Wrong. Really, really wrong.)

There are some people that insist this person was never using fake credentials, simply mentioning living in San Francisco and going to some graduate program here.

No. I’ll just put that notion to rest with some screengrabs after the jump. Continue reading

I Graduated. Thanks Condoms and Feminism.

“The fact is that women have been trapped. Reproduction is used, consciously or not, as a means to control women, to limit their options and to make them subordinate to men. In many societies a serious approach to reproductive health has to have this perspective in mind. We must seek to liberate women.”

Dr. Nafis Sadik
Executive Director, UN Population Fund

I graduated with a Master’s degree this year. My own intellect was the source of success, supported by insane dedication and amazing friends. But without condoms and feminism I could not have gone this far. Continue reading

Screw Critical Thought. Blame Women, Feminism, or Men.

In Ur Societiez Feminizin Yer Menfolk

My friend Lydia W sent me an email with the subject heading: terrible article you could have a field day with.

I clicked on the link. I read the article “Are Women Feminizing Men?“. My response was simple:

“I almost started crying when I read this.”

Matthew Fitzgerald (author of Sex-ploytation: How Women Use Their Bodies to Extort Money From Men, an evidence-free rook, aka rant book) managed to spit out some of the worst sexist stereotypes in two tiny pages with nary a source to back up his claims.

Blanket statements about human nature applied to one gender? Check.

“typical female hypocrisy”

“women — shrewd and manipulating as they are”

“[Women] use [power] for sexual blackmail…”

Painting men as sex-centered simpletons? Check.

“Let’s face it: A man’s needs are pretty minimal. All he really asks for is regular sex and a cold one.”

“most guys will do just about anything to get laid.”

Power-Crazed Women

He seems to think that women are mad with power and that our uterii are staging a media takeover, saying “far more influential are movies like Mel Gibson’s cotton candy pander-fest What Women Want”.

Really? Let’s take a peek at the top grossing films of the last decade.

TOP TEN FILMS OF THE 2000s

(unadjusted domestic gross totals)

  1. Avatar (2009)
  2. The Dark Knight (2008)
  3. Shrek 2 (2004)
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
  5. Spider-Man (2002)
  6. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  7. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  8. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  9. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
  10. The Passion of the Christ (2004)

Every last one was a male-centric plot line. Nearly every last one is an action movie. All of them were directed by men, produced by men and starring men. Women are a minority behind and in front of the cameras. (For insight as to why, read this Salon’s roundtable with 10 powerful Hollywood women).

Power-Hungry Women?

So what’s the real dirt on women and power in this country? Gender equality isn’t as equal as this guy is shouting about. Yes, women are making gains in education but at a time when educational systems are crumbling. Yes, women make up 52% of the workforce but in low paying positions. In the Forbes top ten richest there are two women from the Walton Family (Wal-Mart) but their wealth was inherited.

Really, the U.S. ain’t doing so hot with gender equality. According to the World Economic Forum, the U.S. ranks #31 out of 115 for equality. Read the WEF report here, relevant snip below:

The Global Gender Gap Report measures the size of the gender inequality gap in four critical areas:

  1. Economic participation and opportunity – outcomes on salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment
  2. Educational attainment – outcomes on access to basic and higher level education
  3. Political empowerment – outcomes on representation in decision-making structures
  4. Health and survival – outcomes on life expectancy and sex ratio

The Index’s scores can be interpreted as the percentage of the gap that has been closed between women and men.

This was out of 115 countries. When I read about women’s lives in other parts of the world, I really want to cry. Rape, honor killings, systematic abuses, minimal autonomy. Horrifying. We so often forget that in our own country, women have only really been making gains over the last century. Women around the globe need a leg up after centuries of unequal treatment. Please read this article in the New York Times about women’s rights around the world.

So to the haters out there: women’s rights are still an issue. We’re making progress, but not enough. I struggle to understand why people (usually men) direct such vitriol at women trying to succeed in life.

What boggles my mind even further is that Matthew Fitzgerald’s writings center around women as shrewd manipulators using sex as bait. I read his book’s Amazon reviews to get a feel for his audience and what I saw…well, it’s disturbing to think he’s right about any people in the world. But what he says resonates with some. In half of the reviews people exclaim “OMG! Women are totally like that!” but the only women I’ve seen use their bodies for financial gain were sex workers. So, women of the world using sex for manipulation: stop lying. Go ahead and be a sex worker. It’s OK. Just be upfront and tell the guy you’re fucknig him for rent money or a new purse.

And to the guys complaining/writing about those women: stop dating them. There are plenty of women that enjoy their financial freedom. There are also women that enjoy sex for its own sake.

At the heart of his writing, and much of the anti-feminist parading as anti-misandrist writing, is a very true frustration.

Are Equality Policies Rooted in Sexist Thought?

“The modern man walks around on eggshells, afraid of saying the “wrong thing,” scared of showing his natural sexual interest to a woman, scared of being scorned, humiliated, or even fired — scared of his own true self.”

Exaggeration (and heteronormative) but a phenomenon I see with some men of my generation. They’re…. Peter Pans? No. Hesitant is a better word. Prone to inertia. And I think the writer is on to something when he points out the role of politically correct speech and sexual harassment charges.

Before you get all riled up: sexual harassment is serious. Anyone in a position of power manipulating an underling sexually deserves punishment. But the way we lay out the law sometimes hinders equality and political correctness can be an ineffective solution.

I am thankful to have laws that prevent my higher-ups from sexually harassing or coercing me. But I resent a law on the books stopping someone from calling me “babe” or “chick”. I’m a grown woman and I should be able to easily say “Stop it”. If I have to, take the matter to a higher-up and keep pursuing it. There is something creepily paternalistic about some of the sexual harassment guidelines, particularly when schools use suspension as a behavioral intervention for inappropriate touching. I am also frustrated with a world that lumps flirting with sexual harassment, that pegs any sexual move from a guy as predatory and aggressive. Sexism underlies these policies. We assume men to be sexually aggressive and women always dislike sexual attention and need outside intervention. The regulations are necessary but we need to look at ineffective and harmful aspects of these policies, lest our solutions create more problems than answers.

Which leads me to an uncomfortable question, still unresolved in my own mind: when we create policies to spur equality through encouraging preferential treatment for disadvantaged groups, should those policies only be short term? By carving them in stone will we, over time and gains in equality, have laws with unequal treatment? And are we sending the message that women need this protection permanently? We certainly need to give a leg up to historically oppressed and disadvantaged people but at what point can we resume an even playing field? Do permanent laws of preferential treatment hurt in the long-term and uphold racist and sexist ideals?

The Blame Game

Whatever the answers to the above questions, one thing is certain: we cannot sit and point fingers at other groups or nebulous ideologies. Yes, it’s comforting name our monsters but ultimately misleading. Men are not at fault for all the world’s problems. Women are not at fault for the current masculinity crisis and anxieties. Feminism (whatever you think that is) has not ruined gender relations. Agitated, yes, but that needed to happen. The old gender order wasn’t working.

But when we agitate a cultural bedrock like gender roles we need to think critically about how to reconstruct gender relations in society. Some would say eradicate gender, but I disagree. You will find cultures with two, three, four, five or six genders but you will not find gender-less socieites. So while I feel so sad when I see inflammatory, gender-stereotyped, sexist analysis that plays the blame game, I know it’s a mistake to write it off wholesale. Just because someone else won’t engage in critical thought (or provide any evidence to back their claims) doesn’t mean the frustration isn’t valid.

The problem is not feminism or women withholding sex. It’s that we need a new construction of masculinities, alongside femininities, that deal with harmful aspects of male gender while encouraging men to shine and succeed in life. We need to deal with the sexist man-bashers of every gender. We need to deal with restrictive gender roles in general because the times, they’re a-changin’.

Intimidating Females Must Tone It Down, Be Needier

I knew the moment I saw the title “How to Be Less Intimidating to Men” the video content would be annoying. When I saw that the advice-dispenser was the author of “Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus” I knew it would be hilarious.

Cohaku1188 writes:

“I am six feet tall and proud of it. I carry myself proudly with my head held high. I have a ‘robust’ or ‘forceful’ personality, as many have said. I’ve had a few guys flat out tell me I’m intimidating. How can I be less intimidating, without being untrue to myself?”

Dr. Gray tells Cohaku1188 that she might be turning off men with her height and success, so find that femininity within and be needier. Sit back and let the guy take control because if dudes can sit back and let a woman take care of it, they will. Unless it’s an emergency and they can be a hero. So now that women are ass-kicking their way through life without men helping, we’re all tired and cranky. So just tone it down lady, k? Make the guy feel like a stud. (Entire video here, sorry I couldn’t embed.)

Where do you even start with something so asininely sexist?

The entire premise is so stupid (Find the part of me that needs a man? Does he mean my G-Spot? Wait, that’s still a want.) I don’t even want to analyze this beyond saying that it’s awful dating advice. I should just make an advice video called “How to Be Less Intimidated by Women” or “Don’t Be Such a Little Wuss”.

*sigh* Really. I thought we’d moved beyond women as meek accessories that make men feel better about themselves. I understand that everyone likes feeling wanted, but needing and wanting are two different things.

Not entirely related, but if you haven’t participated in my thesis study: GO DO IT. Less than 5 minutes of your time. For science. SEXY science.

Good Guys Make Bad Lovers and Other Stupid Stereotypes

Sometime ago, I found myself in a bar, engaging in a verbal struggle with a soon-to-be ex-lover. He stirred his Mai Tai and told me why I liked him. “I’m an asshole. Women like assholes. Why do you think the sex is so good?”

Yes. Because all 3 billion plus men on the planet fit into two categories: nice guys and bad boys. No complexity to their personalities, no context to their actions, no mistakes leading to growth. Just wusses and studs.

Why do we deem nice behavior as incompatible with sexual skills? A friend of mine sent me a link to a PUA (Pick-Up Artist) blog where the author asserted that men were either good boyfriends or good lovers. Never both.

The ex-lover I mentioned based his sexuality on the false good guy/bad boy sex norms. In his mind, being highly sexed meant he was secretly an asshole, despite any acts of kindness: Bringing me a bottle of wine and chocolate when I was dying from cramps. Mixing me drinks. Making me dinner.

What a blatant jerk.

Underlying the alpha and beta male mindset is that hot sex is incompatible with kindness. We think nice girls can’t be sexual or that sexual girls are bad and bitchy. Is this just a logical fallacy rooted in demonizing sex? If sex is bad then all sexual people are bad people?

Let’s drop this sexual construction like the bad habit it is. Sure, some jerks are good in bed. But lots of perfectly nice people can fuck like madmen. There is no real correlation between social kindness and sexual satisfaction. The only sure thing we can say about bad boys is that they have more sex partners, but a high number of sex partners does not equal sexual skills.

In fact, it might mean the opposite. Jerks could be so self-obsessed that they are awful in bed and so flip through partners quickly. Just because you get someone into bed does not mean that you will get them off.

Edit: If you think this post is a little underdeveloped in the idea department you’re right. Want to read an expansion of these concepts? A follow up post can be found here or by clicking the “Kindness and Hot Sex are Not Mutually Exclusive” link at the top.