Guess who’s back, back again…

29 10 2008

Alright, I’ve been gone for an ungodly amount of time, for which I apologize. I was on bloggy hiatus for a while for a myriad of reasons, but I’m back and will now attempt to post with some kind of regularity. Sorry for abandoning you. (If you’re still reading).

Anyways, this thread over at Amber’s got me thinking. Well, in a tangential way, really.

I was talking to a friend once, and I honestly forget what this conversation was about. Anyways, I said something along the lines of “Well, there’s nothing wrong with having a lot of sex, as long as you’re safe and smart about it.”

She replied “Yeah, but I think there’s an element of low self-esteem that goes into that.”

She might be right, at least some of the time. Yes, some people do have sex because they need validation. However, why is having sex always the thing people like to analyze to death? Especially women having sex? Especially teenage girls having sex.

“Sexually active teenage girl”, at least if you watch TV, has become some kind of synonym for delinquent. I was looking through the “Be on the Show” section of the Dr. Phil website, just out of boredom. (No, you will not be seeing Miss Nomered coming to a TV station near you.) Anyways, an upcoming show is based on this:

“Teen daughter sexually active?”


Granted, 13-year-olds having sex is often somewhat concerning, as most 13-year-olds don’t have the maturity level to deal with that. But, what about the 16, 17, and 18 year olds? Older teens have been having sex forever, why is it considered so horrible in the eyes of parents and the media? Especially if the one having sex is a girl?


Oh, the hypocrisy.

9 07 2008

Kyle Payne (thanks to Ren and Belledame for posting this) is just your average anti-pornography activist. You know, is one of those feminist male “allies” who, clearly, just cares about the women.

Except, maybe not.

You see, Kyle was arrested for breaking into the room of a female university student, and assaulting her while she was unconscious. He then admitted, “with an intent to arouse my sexual desire, I photographed and filmed Jane Doe and her breast without her consent.”

Um, what? Mr. anti-porn, who is against people consensually performing in porn (but apparently it can’t ever be consensual, according to Gail Dines et al, because no woman in her right mind would ever do that), took a kind of porny picture of a woman without her consent. That, and he had child pornography on his computer. That’s right, folks, not even good old 2257-compliant, consensually made adult porn, but child porn.

Wow. The hypocrisy here is just overwhelming. To echo what Trinity said, I always figured one of these anti-porn types would be caught with some garden-variety Jenna Jameson DVDs. Or have a few too many one night and end up having a “thing” with a porn star. Not, you know, be found with child pornography and/or be arrested for sexual assault.

The fail abounds. And, yes, I know I say that a lot, but this is the biggest pile of fail I’ve seen in a while.

Who wants to take bets on how long it’s going to be before he blames the whole thing on the Evil Porn Culture?

In all seriousness, my heart goes out to the victim. I’m trying not to mock the situation inappropriately, because, honestly, it’s terrible.

Here are other bloggers spreading the truth about Kyle Payne:

Teenage Sex Panic, part eleventy-seven

26 06 2008

So I’m sure almost everyone has heard of the somewhat mythical “Teenage Pregnancy Pact” by now. In fact, I’m not even going to link any stories about it. In case you somehow don’t know about it – Google is your friend.

Anyways, the media (and followers of it), are having a classic moral panic. If there was indeed some “pregnancy pact” (and as more is revealed, it’s sounding like more and more like somewhat of an urban legend – see Rainbow Parties), that’s messed up. There. I said it. But what would make it messed up is not that teens were having sex – it’s that they were missing enough love and validation in their lives to seemingly “need” the unconditional love that having a baby would bring. That, and they don’t seem terribly intelligent or mature.

By the way… IT’S. NOT. ABOUT. JUNO. Or Jamie Lynn Spears. Give me a break.

Why is everyone so afraid to be even the slightest bit positive about teenage sexuality? Let’s get this straight: unprotected sex is bad. Sex before you’re ready, or for reasons other than simply wanting to have sex (i.e. societal pressure or pressure from your partner), is probably also not the greatest idea. But, as said before, teenagers are sexual beings. And, no, admitting that does not mean that you want to have sex with teenagers. Teens will have sex, regardless of what scare tactics you use to dissuade them, and, as Seinfeld would say, not that there’s anything wrong with that. So, good sex education and readily available sex education is in everyone’s best interest.

Back to the moral panic. Am I the only one who’s realized how sexist it is? It always surrounds the fact that the pristine innocence of young girls is being tarnished. Girls are losing their virginity* in high school! Girls are dressing slutty! Girls are giving blowjobs! And, yes, while some girls do said things because they have low self-esteem, are trying to impress their friends or their partners, a lot aren’t. For example, some girls (some, not all) enjoy giving oral sex, or at least, don’t mind it. And, apparently, the boys reciprocate more than you might think, according to what I’ve read.

Oh yeah, a quick note to the media: IT’S NOT ALWAYS WITH A BOY! Us crazy queers do have sex too, and for the queer girls, it’s not just with boys, because we’re miserable and closeted. Some of us have sex with women! And you can date, or sleep with boys, and still be queer. Bisexuality, pansexuality, and general non-descript queerness do exist, and it’s not just because it’s “trendy” either. Transpeople exist too – of course, not a lot of people consider that, outside of concern of the “Oh my god, you’re so unusual!” variety.

Wow. Am I getting off-track here, or what?

Anyways my point is: before you freak out about it, teenage sexuality isn’t as big a problem as you make it out to be.

*I hate the concept of “virginity”. But that is another rant for another time.

You know, sometimes I feel like being an evil libertarian.

23 06 2008

This is not to say that I support libertarian economic policy. But I think libertarians have it right on some things. I really do.

There was a mildly cringe-worthy thread over at Feministe a while ago about whether certain (consensual) sex acts can be considered properly feminist or not.

In these kind of “debates”, there are a few terms which keep popping up. You know, you have to “examine” or “analyze” or question why you happen to be doing this or that. And usually, this or that is some kind of sexual activity other people happen to not like. Usually, it’s BDSM or other powerplay or whatever isn’t considered properly “feminist”.

This is pretty insulting on a bunch of levels. As Ren pointed out a while ago, these cries of “But you have to examine!” assume that people who are into certain kinds of sex haven’t done their analysis already.

But, here’s my main point.

There is a time when you need to stop analyzing and just let people live their damn lives. No, not everyone has pristine feminist thoughts in their head while they’re fucking. As long as what they’re doing is safe, sane and consensual (and no, just because you wouldn’t do it doesn’t make it insane), I think it’s time to back off. Really. It’s none of your business. It’s probably a lot less un-feminist than you think. I know of a lot of kinky folk who are feminists, and a lot of vanilla folks who are misogynist assholes. Contrary to popular belief, what people do in the bedroom (or bathroom, or kitchen, or living room, or local bathouse) tends to stay there. At least that’s what I think.

As a feminist, I’m sick of hearing that “XYZ is a tool of the patriarchy”. You know what else is a tool of the patriarchy? Telling people how to fuck!

Make Love, Not War.

7 06 2008

A while ago, I came across this article about a lesbian couple who were asked to stop kissing during a baseball game. I’m not even going to get into how heterosexist and stupid the whole so-called “controversy” is – people have done that already. Instead, I’m wondering, what’s wrong with a little PDA?

Yes, I know that excess public groping is probably a little much. Still, I’d much rather see public displays of affection than public displays of hatred. A few weeks ago, I was on the bus, and there was this guy near me talking loudly on his cellphone. From the sounds of it, he was being very verbally abusive to his wife/girlfriend/partner. It seriously made me want to cry. I’d take watching 10 couples have really excessive makeout sessions over having to listen to that shit.

Another thing I’ve never understood is how sex is apparently so much more scandalous than violence in the media. I mean, violence is generally understood to be negative, while sex and sexuality can be quite positive and wonderful. I guess it’s an indicator of how screwed up and sex-negative our society is. As someone (I can’t for the life of me remember who it was) said, “You can blow someone’s head off, but you can’t give them head.” What the hell? Want my personal opinion? I’d much rather watch a sex scene, even a really bad one, than a really bloody violent scene.

I actually read a really cool article about this new Israeli porn site that features Israelis – both Jews and Arabs – getting it on. Honestly, it makes me really happy that such a thing exists. Because I think if we all learned to be more open, affectionate, and sexy, there would be a lot less violence and wars in the world.

The (original) hippies were on to something. Really.

Sing if You’re Glad to be Gay (or Trans)

29 05 2008

“It’s not a choice!”

How many times have we heard this?

And it bothers me. A mandatory disclaimer: no, I do not think sexual orientation is a choice. But really, does it matter?

The thing that bothers me about the choice versus biology thing is that it assumes if it was, indeed a choice, we’d have a moral imperative to choose straight. Unlike members of the religious right, I see absolutely nothing wrong with same-gender love, desire, and sex. Absolutely nothing at all. So why must I constantly defend myself? I don’t like turning myself into a victim of my natural and healthy desires. Nor do I like kissing ass to the religious right. Because, I feel, that a lot of times when people so adamantly say, “It’s not a choice!”, it’s almost like they’re saying that being queer or trans is a terrible way to be.

Let’s be honest. It’s not easy a lot of the time. The world, unfortunately, contains a lot of homophobes and transphobes, who have a stick up their ass so big that they feel the need to hate people for the kind of sex they have, or the fact that their genitals don’t match their gender presentation. When you think about it, it’s kind of pathetic. Pathetic enough for me not to want to lend any credence to it by pandering to that kind of fucked up ideology. And queer/trans people do face a lot of obstacles, almost all of them caused by prejudice rather that being queer or trans in of itself.

If I had a choice, honestly, I’d choose queer. There are a lot of really great things about being part of the queer/trans community.

The big part of it is the community. The culture. We have our own books and magazines and TV shows, our own hang-outs and our own way of living. I have a lot of queer/trans friends (and lovely straight allies!) who are like family to me. The queer community is so vibrant and amazing that I can’t imagine ever wanting to give it up.

Then there are other things. A queer activist friend of mine once joked with me that the reason the religious right is so obsessed with the way queers have sex is because they’re jealous. I’m pretty sure queers have, on average, better sex lives than straight people. I think we have fewer hang-ups about sex, since traditional straight-up straight sex isn’t usually an option (unless you’re bi/pansexual/whatever – in which case, you probably still have same-gender sexual relations from time to time). Plus, we know how to get creative, if you know what I mean.

There are a million other awesome things about being queer. I can’t list them all at the moment, but I think being queer can be a great experience. That’s why I refuse to make myself a victim. That’s why I refuse to yell, “It’s not a choice!”. Because I like being this way. And yes, I’m glad to be gay.

(S. Bear Bergman had a great speech on this topic. I know the title is similar – it comes from a song, and it wasn’t an effort to rip off Bear’s speech. Go read it. It’s awesome)

“Choice” was so ten years ago.

18 05 2008

Something has been bothering me for a while about certain sections of the feminist movement.

Remember “choice”? You know, what we were fighting for a bunch of years ago? Well, it seems to have gone out of style.

Sure, anyone will still valiantly defend your right to choose certain things related to reproductive health; namely, birth control and abortion. Unless we’re talking about “pro-life feminists” (shudder). But, especially lately, a lot of choices aren’t seen as nearly as valid. Specifically, choosing to do things certain feminists don’t approve of.

You know what I mean. Choose to have an abortion, or become an engineer? Good on ya! Choose to wear something revealing, be tied up, or be a stripper or porn star? Suddenly, you lose your ability to choose that. You know, because it’s all a product of brainwashing by the patriarchy.

I’ll definitely admit that sexism does influence our choices sometimes. So does racism, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism, and whatever other internalized prejudices one might have. But those aren’t always the only reasons someone might choose to do something (especially something you don’t particularly like or approve of). And, really, when it comes to women in porn or sex work or whatever, do people who call themselves “feminists” really think women are that weak and unintelligent? That they’re so brainwashed by the patriarchy that they couldn’t possibly make a choice of their own?

And as for choices that aren’t frowned upon? Well, I’ll be the first to admit that people don’t always have the most pristine of motives for, say, having abortions. Like, you know, wealthy families who don’t want a kid with Down Syndrome because they’ll never graduate from Princeton. Is it a choice I would make? Probably not. Is it influenced by a lot of ableism? Probably. Am I going to badger them constantly, and tell them how wrong and brainwashed they are? Hell no. It’s not my place to judge, let alone harass them over it. Which is why I distanced myself from a lot of the pro-lifers at Aspies for Freedom – but that is another rant for another time.

You know, it’s hugely ironic when certain feminists go on about “choice”. Then, when someone chooses something they don’t like, that person’s ability to choose suddenly vaporizes.

At some point, regardless of the motives they might have, we have to step back and let other people make their own decisions. Especially when those people are telling you to back off.

When I say I’m pro-choice, I mean it. And it’s not just about abortion.