Arts & Culture
Artistry, activism, body paint, glitter, feathers, scales, nakedness, beautiful decoration, gleeful abandon: why only once a year?
Saturday was the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. It's an art parade that's been hosted by Coney Island USA, a not for profit arts organization, for 25 years to celebrate freedom, expression, diversity, joy and the summer solstice. I've attended each of the past four years and wish there were more opportunities for people to be out, in public, as happy and free in their bodies as they are at the parade.
I'm curious about other such festivals around the country. I've recently learned via Liberty at Going Braless (registration required) about a few that are very family oriented, as this one is. For example, she told me about Eeyore's Birthday in Austin. Does anyone know of others?
Below are some photos that I think show the best of the parade: the freedom and expressiveness of people of all ages, genders, orientations, body shapes and abilities. They were all taken by my partner Will Van Dorp (see more in his Flickr set or on his blog here and here).
A forlorn peek above our garters to Miss Vicki at God is a Dyke for bringing us this bit of heartbreaking news.
Apparently, Joyce Y. Beddell, 61, walked in on her sixteen year old granddaughter in flagrante delicto with another girl from the neighborhood. Instead of politely excusing herself, Mrs. Beddell chose a different, heartbreaking path.
The granddaughter had just finished having sex with another 16-year-old girl and was in an upstairs bedroom. Beddell walked in and found them together. The neighborhood girl ran out of the house to her nearby home while Beddell was beating her granddaughter with the cane.
This Sunday, May 25, is the annual masturbate-a-thon. Learn about masturbation as safe sex and help raise money for Center for Sex and Culture.
Watch this video of Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence discussing the masturbate-a-thon and you will learn that National Masturbation Month (of which the 'thon is a central event) was founded by the sex educators at Good Vibrations in protest of the firing of Dr. Jocelyn Elders, who was Surgeon General for a short time during Bill Clinton's first administration. You may recall she was fired after suggesting that teaching young people about masturbation would help prevent STIs, unwanted pregnancies, and improve sexual health, and delay the start of sexual intercourse.
Sex 2.0 was amazing.
What do you get when one exceptionally talented organizer and her team bring together 80 or so people to talk about sex, feminism and social media in a gorgeous and very well appointed dungeon? You get Sex 2.0, which took place this past Saturday, April 12, in Atlanta.
It was a really amazing event. (Note: this was a conference, not a party. Despite the number of desirable and skillful people, and the amazing equipment, we all kept focused on the important discussions taking place.)
It was amazing because it brought together people will a huge range of connections to sex and the 'net. There were sex workers, BDSM practitioners, bloggers, academics, sex educators, community organizers, outreach workers (please note that many people fit in more than one of those categories). It was amazing because of the range of topics covered.
I led a discussion about building and maintaining the sex commons, and you can read a brief outline of my remarks here.
I've been looking forward to this weekend for months. If airline glitches don't stop me in a few hours I will be in Atlanta for this weekend's Sex 2.0 conference.
Sex 2.0 will focus on the intersection of social media, feminism, and sexuality. How is social media enabling people to learn, grow, and connect sexually? How is sexual expression tied to social activism? Does the concept of transparency online offer new opportunities or present new roadblocks — or both? These questions, and many more, will be addressed within a safe, welcoming, sex-positive space.
Twice in the last week I had chances to talk to groups of people face to face about what we're doing here at Sex In The Public Square, and twice I got a tremendous sense of support and encouragement. The building of spaces on the Internet where sex -- of all sorts -- can be discussed openly, and where the connections between sex and the rest of our lives can be explored instead of studiously ignored, is so important. I know I'm not speaking just for myself when I say we're glad to be part of that effort.
And part of that effort involves, happily for us, stepping away from the computer and meeting face-to-face with other folks who are doing related work. In the next couple of months I'll be talking about different parts of this work in four very different settings. They are:
Another reason why I love the AFT!
The AFT is my national union and I love it because it has organized faculty across the country and we're stronger for it. I love it because it takes academic freedom so seriously. And now I love it because, in showing its support for academic freedom, it actually, on its Free Exchange On Campus blog wrote clearly in support of the effort by students at the College of William and Mary to bring the Sex Worker Art Show to their campus .
Here are some of the most important bits the blog post written by Chris Goff, one of the amazing AFT Higher Ed staffers I met recently at a leadership conference:
In Separate Or Not , a teacher discusses the "completely contrary to feminist thought" concept of same-sex education (or, if you prefer, separation of genders in classrooms).
Her personal experiences lead her to conclude:
As for someone who fought for gender equality I am willing to be politically incorrect in firmly stating my belief that based on the reasons above, students should be separated in classrooms to facilitate their learning. Is it time for the “fad” for separation of students to return? I think so.
Matters of gender identity aside (for that's too complicated a matter for me to contemplate at this wee hour), I am inclined to agree. Somewhat.
As a graduate of an all-women's college, I certainly benefited from the women-only atmosphere. We were free from (perceived or real) the attacks on our way of processeing and thinking.
You may have noticed that my contributions to the square have been a bit sparse since September. What's up with that? For one thing, I finished my first semester back in the classroom (what an adjustment!), spent two separate weekends at union conferences (union work being another of my passions), and just got back from a trip to Georgia to see family.
So, one New Year's Resolution: To get better at combining blogging with my other work, and next semester a lot of my other work is related to this site, so I'm feeling pretty optimistic!
What's up for next semester? Well, for one thing I'll be teaching a course in Sociology of Gender, being offered for the first time at NCC. That's very exciting, and one way that I plan to integrate some of my blogging and some of my teaching. In addition, I'll be speaking at a bunch of conferences about stuff we discuss here. (If you're local to any of them, drop by!) Here's where I'll be: