Sex is a funny little world. Such a tiny word for such a big, complicated thing. Some of its complications are unnecessary. Our silly reactions to people experiencing sex in a way that goes beyond our boundaries ties us up in knots and makes pariahs of those that like to be tied up in knots. No small part of our problems with sex, however, are intertwined with our notions of gender and power. Sex has been used against women for so long, that it is hard to extricate a casual comment from the power dynamics implied in it. Hence this little gem: Continue reading
You know what? I like using mosaics as metaphors. They are useful in almost every aspect of the human experience right on up to the very idea of the human experience itself. Spectra are nice but linear and grids are only marginally more useful. Binaries are completely frickin’ useless. Mosaics though, they really help describe what a complex issue is like.
Right now I am pondering a mosaic that humanity really struggles with, intimacy and sexuality. Continue reading
Note: This is a re-post of something I wrote on Tumblr last summer. I share it here because some of you did not get to see it, and to test some new stuff I tried to add to my WordPress. I hope you enjoy it.
I often worry about what’s ahead of me, but the last few days I’ve found myself worrying about what’s not in front of me. To be more accurate I worry about what’s not in front of me between my waist and my chin: breasts.
Or whatever the hell you want to call them: boobs, ta-tas, tits, chi-chis, melons… whatever juvenile euphemism you care to use they’ve been on my mind. I know finally having the real deal (and not the sad foam-rubber substitutes I currently must be satisfied with) will not make me a “real” woman. At least, I know this in my head. My heart, however is convinced I cannot feel womanly without them. I’m to the point where, consequences be damned, I’m ready to order estrogen and testosterone-blockers on-line and self administer.
I’m not alone either, and I don’t just mean amongst the trans woman community. A dear friend of mine, this strong, intelligent, liberated cis woman confided that before she had children she had not been terribly well endowed. Pregnancy changed all that and she told me that afterwards she felt more feminine.
As a solid three on the Kinsey Scale I can admit to finding breasts pleasing, both aesthetically and (if memory serves) sexually. What I can’t understand is the absolute power they have over us, all of us. I’ve known gay men, men who found the mention of the word vagina abhorrent, that were fascinated by a woman’s ample chest.
I understand that we are bombarded by the disgusting degree to which woman are objectified in our culture. I know that this is at least partly to blame. We get saturated with other ideas as well however. None of these other ideas seem to take hold as universally. Maybe there is something primal about us that beckons to us from the time when a nice set meant life or death for your offspring. I just don’t know.
I… we… probably never will know. We’ll feel inadequate, aroused, ashamed and amused without ever really understanding why. All I know is I want mine. Failing that I wouldn’t mind those of another.
Alright, sorry folks, porn is on the table again for a second straight day. I would like to apologize to all my friends out there that are working to get me taken seriously, but really this is a serious subject, even if it is hard for us to view it as one. Really, I won’t be talking too much about porn itself so much as this country’s, and possibly the world’s, two most famous purveyors of such: Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt.
I want to revisit, for the first time in the blogosphere, something that has bothered me in the past. I have never quite understood how people with moderate attitudes about pornography, those that see it has problems but don’t think it should be banned and/or those that are not regular viewers but also do not pretend to have no interest, have held Hefner up to be the more pro-women of the two. Leaving aside the fact that both men are involved with an industry that has had a leading role, though as I mentioned yesterday it doesn’t have to, in the objectification of women, what could lead anyone to make a judgment on that regard comparing the two?
Neither man is without taint but neither are they vehemently anti women. They have both come out in support of reproductive rights. They have both come out, though not strong, on the issue of discrimination in the work place. Yes, they both sell porn. Yes they contribute to some of the unhealthy attitudes about women and sexuality that I pointed out pornography continues to have a problem with. Why then is Hef safer?
A very smart friend of mine brought to my attention that Hefner has better PR, and I am sure that has a lot to do with it. I do not, however, think that is all. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Hustler is “hardcore”, showing actual sex acts and <gasp> fluids! It is silly but I really think that has a great deal to do with it, which seems funny to me. Might it make it more vulgar or less artistic? Sure, but that does not mean it is any more misogynist.
Really, not comparing the men but the pornographic content of their publications, Hustler seems less misogynist to me. The women in Hustler have a variety of attitudes about their own sexuality, crossing orientation (which really isn’t that big a deal considering the straight males fascination with lesbianism) activity. Some are submissive while some are aggressive. Some are conventional while some are kinky. Some have no real ambition while some are artists or thinkers in their own right. In Playboy you get a vacuous list of likes and dislikes and a woman served up as a trophy to be had, not a partner to have fun with.
Which is not to put Larry up on some pedestal as the ideal male feminist. His personal attitudes about the feminist movement, his overly dismissive treatment of those that call out the objectification of women in porn and his allowing some seriously misogynist pieces of garbage contribute to his magazine (especially in regards to the always equally annoying and amusing Men’s Rights Movement) cast a not too flattering light him. The same can be said of Hefner’s patronizing attitude toward women though.
I know this is ultimately not that big a deal, but I think it is something worth reflecting on, if only briefly (actually briefly would probably be best) to ask ourselves why we have the attitudes we have. We have a strange love-hate relationship with sexuality and our own bodies, especially women’s bodies, in our culture and I think we need to work on that, to make our selves safer, healthier and happier.