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richnewman's picture

Fragments of Evolving Manhood: Thinking About Pornography 1

Translation work has taken me away from this series, and I have been missing it. A conversation I had today with a friend reminded me, though, of the conclusion to an essay about pornography called “Inside The Men Inside ‘Inside Christy Canyon,’” that I published in 1994 in the now-defunct literary journal called “The American Voice.” This is a slightly edited version of that conclusion.

Male dominance instructs men that our bodies are tools. By turning male orgasm into the "cum shot," heterosexual pornography reflects and perpetuates this image of the male body. Yet it does not have to be that way. Erection, for example, the gradual hardening of a man's penis--in the hand or mouth or inside or against or at the sight, sound or smell of the body of his lover, or in his own hand--is the physical corollary of, a concrete metaphor for, that man's capacity for trust, something Sharon Olds explores in her poem "The Connoisseuse of Slugs:"

Elizabeth's picture

Sexual Freedom and Higher Education: Why Sex Weeks are A Good Idea

National Sexual Freedom Day logoNational Sexual Freedom Day is Thursday. Woodhull Freedom Foundation will host panels on the topic of sexual freedom as a fundamental human right and will also release the first Sexual Freedom Annual Report documenting the state of sexual freedoms in the United States today. This is an exciting moment in the movement toward greater sexual freedom for all. And yet it is also a moment characterized by conflict about what kinds of sexualities ought to be free, and what kinds of institutions ought to regulate those freedoms.

Recently, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an opinion piece by Margaret Brooks, of Bridgewater State University, railing against the well-established Sex Week programming series that exists, in different forms, on many college campuses. Sex Weeks have been around for at least a decade. They aren’t new. They aren’t even especially controversial. Until now. Brooks is scandalized by the way that commercial interests (sex toy companies) and academic interests (sexuality education) are blended without much to distinguish the one from the other. She is indignant that Sex Week workshops and programs are not taught primarily by full time faculty members. And she is outraged that these programs don’t provide abstinence or monogamy only education.

I sympathize with Dr. Brooks on a majority of those points, a fact which may be hard for many readers to believe.

Elizabeth's picture

What is sexual freedom?

This video was made by Tiye Massey, daughter of Woodhull Freedom Foundation advisory council members Dan Massey and Alison Gardner. It is a 12 minute long look at what sexual freedom means to a range of people she interviewed on the street and around town. And just in time for National Sexual Freedom Day! Thanks Tiye!

So, what does sexual freedom mean to you? Share your definitions and your ideas in the comments.

Courtney Elizabeth Mauk's picture

Body, Be Good

I was thirteen when I first began starving myself, but you’ve heard stories like mine before.  Like genital mutilation and date rape, anorexia has had its recurring moments in the spotlight, an issue sensational enough for TV movies and the serious columns in women’s magazines, and a problem too ingrained within our culture to go away any time soon.  Anorexia is old news and in many ways anti-feminist.  Anorectics, after all, are among the most obvious slaves to the evil manipulations of media imagery, knowingly killing themselves to obtain the impossible ideal portrayed by models and celebrities.  It’s sad, yes, but come on already and break free of the chains!  Celebrate your powerful, womanly curves!  Eat something!

If only it were that simple. 

Anorexia is an issue that has been glossed over again and again.  The easy answer is the surface one – she feels bad about her body because our media-fueled culture has made her feel that way.  To solve this problem, we need to: a. make her feel better about herself; b. change the ideal portrayed in the media; and/or c. teach her not care about media images in the first place.  All of these are very nice ideas and have led to girl power messages and bans on Barbie dolls that may or may not have a positive effect on the psyches of little girls.  But they do not address the underlying issues of power and control that make anorexia so pervasive and difficult to overcome. 

Elizabeth's picture

SITPS on Woodhull Freedom Foundation Site

As part of our continuing collaboration with Woodhull Freedom Foundation, SITPS posts are now syndicated on the Woodhull web site! If you haven't visited the newly redesigned Woodhull site you should check it out right away. It looks fabulous, and now you can read us there as well! 

 

Clipped from: www.woodhullfoundation.org (share this clip)

 

 

Elizabeth's picture

Sex Workers Stop Traffick

Originally posted by Stacey Swimme of Sex Workers Outreach Project and Bound, Not Gagged, and reprinted here in its entirety:

Red Umbrella with Only Rights Can Stop The Wrongs Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, a social justice and anti-violence project by and for sex workers, decries trafficking and demands protections for workers.

In the debate regarding the coercive shutdown of the Craigslist adult services sections the voices of sex workers have been conspicuously overlooked. Trafficking is not sex work. Real traffickers and child abusers must be stopped. Sex workers are in a unique position to help end trafficking, if our perspectives are taken into account.

Based on our extensive knowledge and experience with the sex industry, SWOP calls on elected officials and members of law enforcement to pursue a sane and effective approach to ending trafficking.

The conflation of consensual sex work with rape is a disservice to both victims of trafficking and to sex workers. Persecuting consenting adults for exchanging sex for money is a waste of precious resources that could better be used providing services and legal protections for minors and others who have been abused.

Elizabeth's picture

Sexual Freedom Day 2010 - I'll be there. Will you?

Woodhull Sexual Freedom Day announcement

 I'll be attending Woodhull Freedom Foundation's Sexual Freedom Day at the Press Club in Washington DC on Thursday, September 23 2010. It's going to be an exciting day. If you're in the area you should join us. From the announcement:

The day-long program reflects Woodhull Freedom Foundation's mission to affirm sexual feedom as a fundamental human right, highlighting the intersections between government policy and lawmaking, marriage, reproductive rights, personal relationships, child rearing, sexual orientation, gender identification, sexual expression, and sexual practice.

Elizabeth's picture

Instant Censorship, Google Style

censorship [remix]

Google just launched a new search technology that speeds up the already mindbogglingly fast process by which you can find information online. I read about it in the New York Times this morning. It launched yesterday and it's called Google Instant. It works like this: as you type your search string Google begins finding results and displaying them before you hit "search." The list changes as you continue typing. If you begin to type "censorship" for example, by the time you type "CEN" you get search results for Central Park. Type the "S" and you get results for Census. Type the "O" and you get censorship-related results. This all happens at the speed of typing. Fascinating. I was wondering whether I thought this was distracting or helpful when I read something that really pissed me off: 

Some words, like “nude,” produce no results because Google Instant filters for violence, hate and pornography, the company said.

I don't think that automatic filtering for "violence, hate or pornography" makes sense in the first place - users should be able to control their own filtering - but I certainly don't think that "nude" should be filtered because of a possible connection to pornography. I wondered what this looked like in practice, and I also wondered what else was filtered.

I went to my computer to try it out. I started typing.

N (Netflix) NU (Nurse Jackie) NUD (...nothing at all!)

Elizabeth's picture

Where all the labia are above average

One of the things that's kept me from blogging recently - aside from family concerns, work, and all the ordinary stuff that keeps people from blogging - is this paralysis that comes when I find a story I want to blog about and then think "oh but there've been SO MANY I've missed, and some have been WAY more important than this..." and then this one gets missed as well.

Not today. Today a story got me angry me and I'm going to blog about it despite the fact that many other much more important stories have happened. I'm going to blog about this one because it grabbed me and if I don't dive in I might never blog again. 

I learned it from Dr. Petra Boynton and as I read her post I heard Garrison Keillor's voice in my head and instead of being soothed I was outraged, and so now I'm blogging.

What I heard in my head: That's the news from Dallas/Fort Worth, where the breasts are too droopy, the faces are too wrinkly, and all the labia are above average.  

The real story: A news anchor at the Dallas/Fort Worth CB 33 tv station read a story featuring a local woman and a local plastic surgeon. Here is a link to the video and story.

Elizabeth's picture

Cabaret Red Light in Red Hook This Weekend Only

Cabaret Red Light Seven Deadly Seas advertisement

My sweetie writes about boats. I write about sex. Tonight we were fortunate to find an entertaining intersection between the two: Cabaret Red Light's "Seven Deadly Seas" performed on the schooner Gazela, docked for the next few nights in Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn, sponsored by PortSide New York.

If you're looking for something to do check them out. It's an intimate setting - only about 80 seats per show - the second row is about as far away as you can get from the action! 

The performers are fabulous and the writing is witty. The costumes are lovely, and the shedding of them is lovelier still. Gazela is a beautiful ship, and with the skyline of  Lower Manhattan in the background it's hard to imagine a more fitting setting for a show about debauchery and plunder.

Check them out. They're only there for this one weekend. For more information or to by tickets:

http://www.cabaretredlight.com/sevenseas/home.html

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