Media

Will drug addiction + prostitution make Albuquerque residents feel safer?

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Editor's Note: M. P. Clark is a new guest contributor at Sex In the Public Square and I'm grateful for her contribution. That it comes on International Sex Worker Rights day is all the more fitting. -Elizabeth Wood

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Yesterday, March 2, 2009, the Albuquerque Journal featured on its front page photographs of a number of women reported missing from the area over the last decade or so. Exactly one month earlier, a woman walking her dog discovered a human bone at a worksite being cleared for new housing development in a part of Albuquerque known as the West Mesa. An investigation of the area turned up other bones—five sets, six, then eleven, and now thirteen. Twelve sets of bones are believed to belong to women, the thirteenth to a fetus of about four months old. Yesterday’s Journal article speculates whether there’s a connection between the women in the photographs and the bones.

Click here to read more.

Elizabeth's picture

Open Center Panel: Sex In America - Changing the Conversation

The Open Center has joined with the Huffington Post to host a panel on sex and public discourse in the United States. Since changing that discourse is what we're all about here I wanted to post the announcement and encourage any readers in the NYC area to attend. I'll be there. If you'll be there too, let me know via Twitter (elizabethSITPS) and maybe we can say hello!

Below is the announcement from the Open Center web site:

Lou FCD's picture

سبحان من في الهيئة

(The title of this post translates (we hope) as 'In Praise of the Body')
Jasad Magazine Logo

 

"I really love sucking a man’s cock." While Catherine Millet's opening line might not be note-worthy in a Western magazine, this time these words do not appear in a Western magazine. What makes those words worth mentioning this time is not their content, but their locale. Millet's piece is published in what might seem the most unlikely of places; they appear in the inaugural issue of Jasad, a magazine dedicated to artistic, literary, scientific and political explorations of the human body and published in Arabic in Beirut, by a woman.
Click here to read more.

Elizabeth's picture

Cross Posting: Call for Applications: Speak Up! Media Training for the Empowered Sex Worker

 

I just read this announcement at Waking Vixen and it fit so well here. Since it ended with the words "Please circulate this widely," I'm doing exactly that. (You will also recall that I posed in a calendar that is being sold as a fundraiser for Sex Work Awareness, the group that is sponsoring the workshop described below. You can donate here and for $10 you can have your very own 2009 NYC Sex Blogger Calendar. I'm December.)

From Audacia Ray at Waking Vixen 

Along with some former $pread Magazine staff members, I’m the co-founder of Sex Work Awareness, an organization that works toward the destigmatization of sex workers. Our work is partly focused on creating better information and resources about sex workers for the public and for journalists. Our online project Sex Work 101 is the tip of that iceberg. Sex Work 101 has been dormant for a while, but I’ve got some content for it now and will be updating it once a week. Last week I posted an answer to the question Does the average sex worker practice safe sex?

Click here to read more

Elizabeth's picture

What Do Women Want?

We won't find out by trying to separate biology from culture.
NYT Mag Cover Female Desire
The cover asks "What is Female Desire?" and the story title, "What do Women Want?" seems to promise that scientists are getting closer to figuring out one of life's great mysteries. Daniel Bergner, in fact, does not attempt to answer those two questions (and the small subtitles make it clear that he isn't going to try) but rather he profiles the work of several scientists who are researching women's sexual response, their subjective sense of arousal, and the ways those do or don't line up.

It is a well-written article and a very interesting read. It takes on complex questions and, within its scope, attempts to address them without oversimplifying or sensationalizing (except for the first sentence of the article, in extra large and colorful print that reads "Meredith Chivers is a creator of bonobo pornography."). I would encourage anybody to take a look. But prepare to be frustrated as well as intrigued. Some readers will be frustrated, as was Meredith Chivers (a psychology professor at Queens University, and one of the scientists whose work is the focus of the article) because the answers are not clear and meticulous research takes so long and is so difficult to do, and because, as she is quoted as saying early in the piece, "The horrible reality of psychological research is that you can't pull apart the cultural from the biological."

Click here for my frustration.

Chris's picture

The Monstrous Regiment of Women

Poe's Law says simply "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing." Although it's one of those things that was made up as a humorous point, the reality of it is as solid as the Laws of Thermodynamics. For example, take Colin Gunn's documentary on the horrors of feminism, The Monstrous Regiment of Women. When you can start out a film trailer with pontifications by Phyllis Schlafly, and have things only proceed downward into further lunacy from there, you know that you've truly dived head first into the rabbit hole. I can't quite decide which is the most disturbing quote, but the assertion by the woman who claims to have worked for a family planning organization is really up there: "I knew that if I could go into a school, the pregnancy rate would increase by fifty percent. I knew that if I could get a girl sexually active, that she would have three to five abortions between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. And that was actually our goal." Watch the trailer below, and remember that we ignore these people at our peril. (h/t to P.Z. Meyers at Pharyngula.) (ETA: Embedding doesn't seem to work. If you're feeling brave, watch the video at P.Z. Meyers' site, or directly from GodTube here.)

Guest Post: This is CNN?

More like Fair-and-Balanced when it comes to reporting on "Natalie Dylan" and her virginity auction.

Lorraine K avatarI was sent a link to a CNN story yesterday afternoon. It is the latest update in a story that's become quite the media frenzy: "Natalie Dylan"  (not her real name) and her creative alternative to student loans. This 22 year old woman is auctioning off her virginity in hopes of raising enough money to finance her Masters degree. This is remarkable, due not only to the high sum her "cherry" seems to be going for these days (between 3.7 and 3.8 million dollars, when last checked), but because of the shock and awe that has followed in its wake. A perfect example of this is the commentary provided by CNN's Prime News host Mike Galanos and correspondent Richelle Carey . Billed as "hard news with a human side," Prime News "challenges news makers and experts to help viewers gain a clearer understanding of the 'right vs. wrong' conflict playing out across the country every day." (If you ask me, this sounds more suitable for Fox News than CNN, but I digress...) Click here to read more. 

Chris's picture

A Bush in the Hand

This might date me a bit, but when I first saw a picture of a shaved pussy, it was a real turn-on because it seemed edgy and sexually aggressive. It wasn't something that women did, as a rule. Now, it's so common that it's banal, and natural bushes, like the one that Furry Girl has made her trademark, have become a fetishized niche. The difference between the two styles still inspires a lot of heat and passion, and not always the good kind. Some people insist that shaved pussies make women look like children; others think that pubic hair looks scraggly and unclean. I'm one of the rare ones, someone with no preference whatsoever. But I can say that I utterly despise the vehemence on both sides, and their willingness to pathologize women's bodies one way or another. What I dislike about the shaved look is its total ubiquitousness. I hate that it's considered de rigueur for models to shave their pubic hair unless they're trying to appeal to a niche demographic, and that women feel like they have to shave to show up at a sex party or even to fuck their date. Shaved pussies are gorgeous, as are pussies with wild, full bushes. But homogeneity is boring and unsexy, and if the aesthetic flipflopped tomorrow, I'd say the same thing about natural bushes.

Chris's picture

Taking the Joy Out of "The Joy of Sex"

I completely missed the news last September that Alex Comfort's groundbreaking sex manual The Joy of Sex has been released in an updated version, as revised by British psychologist Susan Quilliam, who describes herself as an "agony aunt" on her personal webpage. In the Toronto Globe and Mail's interview with Quilliam, their reporter calls the new edition "refreshingly conservative," which sends up all sorts of red flags from the start. Unfortunately, reading what the author herself has to say doesn't set my mind at ease:

Elizabeth's picture

Yet another reason to help us support Sex Work Awareness

Sex Work Awareness helps sex workers and their allies challenge the way that the mainstream media outlets and prohibitionist writers tell their stories and report on the issues that most directly affect them. Here is a very recent example:

In reaction to the ABC News Ashely Dupre Exclusive Megan at Jezebel wrote this piece applauding recent changes to prostitution law in the UK that will criminalize the buying of sexual services and increase reliance on shaming techniques to try to inhibit demand for prostitution thus increasing the stigma attached to sex work. The new rules troublingly conflate trafficking with prostitution and make it less likely that clients will report suspicions that a worker has been trafficked. The Jezebel piece is full of assumptions about prostitutes, and these are the same assumptions - often fueled by methodologically problematic and heavily biased research - that are used to justify policy changes whose unintended consequences are likely to make things more dangerous, not less dangerous, for women. 

Elizabeth Wood by Stacie Joy Organizations like Sex Work Awareness help sex workers be heard more often, in more places, and with more impact. We need those voices desperately. Help us support Sex Work Awareness by making a $20 donation, for which you will receive our lovely NYC Sex Blogger Calendar. (I'm December -->)

Your entire donation goes directly to SWA because of the generous sponsors who covered the entire cost of producing the calendar.

NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar - $20 (US)

NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar - $20 (Canada)

NYC Sex Bloggers Calendar - $20 (Overseas)

All calendar photos by Stacie Joy .

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