My emotions today have reached a heretofore unprecedented level of sappiness. I kid you not, as of 1:30pm Pacific time, I have cried over three different things I have seen online. I’ve decided to share them with you here.
First up is Anita Sarkeesian’s TEDx talk, where she discusses the potential psychology behind the cybermob that attacked her so viciously over her Tropes vs. Women kickstarter project.
I teared up at the end. Male and female video game characters pander so excessively to the heterosexual male fantasies that it leaves little room for those of alternate genders or sexual orientations to also indulge in the fantasy. I love playing video games. Love it. But just once, I’d like to see a female character that isn’t weak, or aggressively sexualized. Am I really asking too much when I ask to play a female character who isn’t wearing a chainmail bikini over the balloons on her chest?
And then there’s this picture.
That is Dan Savage (one of my personal heroes, though we disagree from time to time) and his longtime partner Terry, getting their marriage certificate signed in Washington state. I wept like a baby. I am so happy that my home state has made same sex marriage legal.
Finally, the fact that this is an actual film that will be shown at SXSW 2013 did me in.
I am so very excited for this film. Wonder Woman is a personal favorite superhero of mine (and really, she should be for anyone else too!). I recently read The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines, and the entire premise of this movie ratcheted my geekcitement up to 11. I’m interested to see how the filmmakers will compare with the author of The Supergirls.
Has anything touched your heart today? Maybe made you squee a little? Share your excitement with me in the comments below!
Because I am a terrible procrastinator, and I am desperately trying to stop doing so many “This thing makes me so ANGRY! HULKSMASH!” kind of posts, I was browsing Tumblr earlier for some post ideas. I found a few really awesome things, like the Hawkeye Initiative, where a talented artist has taken to re-drawing the poses of female comic book characters as Hawkeye. If you need to giggle a bit, and then weep when you realize how ridiculous female comic book characters are drawn, take a look. But that wasn’t enough for a whole blog post.
But this? This is seriously cool.
DrinkSavvy is the brainchild of Mike Abramson, and his invention could save lives. How many times have you heard to “never leave a drink unattended”, or “watch your drink, you might get drugged”? I know that I have definitely had my drink spiked by someone that I trusted, while I was dating him. Normally, this sort of advice is directed towards young women, but the creator was inspired after being drugged himself.
DrinkSavvy is a series of products (cups, glasses, straws and stirrers) that actually change color in the presence of GHB, a common “date rape” drug. Although it has a slightly salty taste, GHB is colorless and odorless, and can be difficult to detect in a flavored drink. Here’s what GHB can do to a person, according to Wikipedia:
Its effects have been described anecdotally as comparable with alcohol and ecstasy use, such as euphoria, disinhibition, enhanced sensuality and empathogenic states. At higher doses, GHB may induce nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, agitation, visual disturbances, depressed breathing, amnesia, unconsciousness, and death. The effects of GHB can last from 1.5 to 3 hours, or even longer if large doses have been consumed. Consuming GHB with alcohol is dangerous as it can lead to vomiting in combination with unrouseable sleep, a potentially lethal combination.
If these products become widespread, then we can effectively eliminate one tool in the date rapist’s arsenal. Do me a favor, share this indiegogo campaign on every social media platform you currently use. I want to see these used in every bar in the US.
I donated to the campaign, will you?
I am suffering from some serious writer’s block. I was unexpectedly too busy to post yesterday, but I’ve had a couple of hours to write, and I just don’t have a topic that I can write a full post about today. So today, you get snippets of things that are rolling around in my brain.
First off, can we please STOP calling other women “whores” and judging them for having sex? One of my family members shared this on her Facebook wall, and it made me see red. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have definitely judged other girls that I didn’t know well, and called them “whore”. But you know what? I look back at those times, and every single time, it was an insult made out of jealousy.
You heard me. I have called other women awful names because I was jealous. I was jealous because I thought they were prettier, or because they had a nicer body, or they wore clothing that I could never pull off, or they were more socially confident than me, or they were better at flirting, or they had the attention of the guy that I thought was cute/dating/liked. Look deep within yourself when you decide to label someone “whore” or “slut”. Unless that person actually works in the sex industry, chances are, the reasons behind your loathing of another person is actually emotions that you’re directing at yourself.
Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you. - Cady from 2004′s Mean Girls
I’d like to add that calling someone a whore doesn’t make your sex or love life any better.
A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to be funny on the Nice Girls twitter account, and joked that The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino was so sexy, I was scared I’d run out of batteries.
One of my followers, who is also a friend of mine in real life, said that I should invest in a Hitachi Magic Wand. When I replied that I didn’t really have the money to spend on it, she actually bought me one! It gets delivered tomorrow, and you can expect a review after I’ve taken it for a test drive.
There are some really amazing conferences that I want to attend, but I always find out about them too late. I really wanted to go to CatalystCon, the Good Vibrations Sex Summit, and I barely found out about Arse Elektronika in time to attend one day of the conference. How does one go about getting on the mailing list for these things? Readers, if you hear about an interesting sex conference that you’d like to see me at, or read about on Nice Girls, could you let me know about it?
I read what seemed to be a really amazing, sex positive, open relationship positive book called Sperm Wars: Infidelity, Sexual Conflict, and Other Bedroom Battles. I say that it seemed to be that way, because up until the final chapter, it was purely discussing how women and men are programmed to seek out partners outside of their primary relationships, and it even had some interesting theories regarding homosexuality. In the last chapter, it had a cloying story about an elderly couple and how being monogamous throughout their entire lives was the best possible reproductive strategy. It seemed like an odd way to end an otherwise open minded and rather engaging book. I’m still wrestling with how to review it properly.
In the interest of giving Nice Girls some more diverse voices, I am approaching some of my fellow sex educators about writing articles or columns for this blog. I’m also planning on starting a YouTube channel, so that I can interview some of the interesting people I come across in this line of work, and you can see it all!
Finally, today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. I’d like for you all to take a minute, and take a look at that website.
And now, I’d like to challenge you to be a transgender ally. When you see injustice, bullying, or any sort of hate-motivated violence (whether physical or verbal), take a stand. Make sure that your words are not going to hurt another. Intervene. Call the police, and then stand witness when they arrive. Make sure that those around you, whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer, know that you won’t stand there and let someone else hurt them.
When visiting my local Good Vibrations a couple of weeks ago, I was very excited to see a copy of Tristan Taormino’s newest book, The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge, displayed prominently among fetish accoutrements. I eagerly picked up a copy, and devoured it from cover to cover in three sittings.
I have previously discussed my adoration of Ms. Taormino’s work before, and she showed once again how well she understands the world of non-normative sexuality. Instead of writing the entire book herself, she sought out the experts in each subject and asked each of them to write an essay about their experiences.
The list of authors in this book reads as a veritable who’s who in the space of kink, and each voice shines through when they are talking about their area of expertise. Midori, Mollena Williams, Ignacio Rivera, and Madison Young (sites are all NSFW, depending on your workplace) are among the contributors who bare their souls and their sexuality for the sake of education. Each chapter covers a different subject, and every area is discussed thoughtfully and with respect to the practitioners.
With topics ranging from the topics people usually think of as kink: sadism, masochism, bondage, submission and dominance; to the less public faces of kink, like age play and edge play, this book is as close to perfect as possible. If you are interested in kink, either intellectually or would like to practice, this book is a great tool to learn to articulate your thoughts and desires. Longtime practitioners, who are generally in a never-ending quest to learn more about their desires and the desires of their partners, will also find the viewpoints interesting and informative.
Overall, I highly recommend The Ultimate Guide to Kink. Ms. Taormino, thank you for putting together such a fantastic overview of the broad spectrum of kink. Once again, I tip my proverbial hat to you.
You can help support Nice Girls by purchasing The Ultimate Guide to Kink through the Amazon link above. A portion of each sale goes towards keeping my blog up and running!
With reports from North Korea showing that the general populace has a hard time finding any sort of contraception, a group of South Korean activists have launched several balloons, hoping they will drift across the border and find their way into the hands of North Koreans.
Among other essential items like sanitary napkins, toothpaste, underwear, socks, anti Pyongyang information, and flashlights, over 5,000 condoms were airlifted to drift north. According to this article, the groups who normally send balloons like these are North Korean defectors, Christian groups, and the South Korean right wing party.
Does anyone else find it somewhat incongruous to see that list? I did a double take.
[I would like to give thanks to someone on the Jezebel fan page for the title of today's post. I'm unsure if I should thank them by name, due to Google searches, but thanks anyway. It made me giggle. If you don't know the reference, what, have you been living under a rock this whole time? Treat yourself to the magic that is the Gangnam Style video. Heck, do it even if you've seen it before.]
Today, the Director of the CIA, David Petraeus has resigned his post, citing an extramarital affair as the reason for his resignation. While I know that within the military there are laws against adultery, and his affair could have had the potential for blackmail and a subsequent security breach, I am outright disgusted at the way the media is treating this entire situation.
I have seen no less than 10 news stories questioning who he had the affair with, and, sure enough, someone has dug it up. Why are we, as a nation, delighting in what has to be an incredibly painful situation for General Petraeus, his family and friends, and his alleged mistress? He has resigned his position, and is effectively bowing out of the public life, and has done so with dignity and grace. To be quite honest, I am looking forward to my imagined utopian-esque future when non-monogamy is no longer a Big Deal for the media. Give the man some peace. He’s done the right thing here, and no one should be getting blasted by the media.
San Francisco has decided to no longer prohibit gender reassignment surgeries from the list of covered medical treatment under the city’s Healthy San Francisco program, a sliding scale health care coverage system that can be used by everyone in San Francisco. Though the city currently does not have the capacity or surgeons who are skilled in this particular type of surgery, so this is a mostly symbolic move for the city. Transgender patients currently are able to receive hormone therapy, counseling, and regular medical care under Healthy SF.
While I am glad that the city takes these concerns seriously, gender reassignment surgeries are extremely expensive, and can go into the tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the specific services provided. As someone who is cisgender, I can’t imagine the mental anguish of someone who doesn’t feel that their body matches their identity and mentality. I am glad that there may be a solution for the transgender in my community in the next few years.
But to be honest, as someone who is currently covered under this program, I’d like to see Healthy SF start providing some other services first, specifically preventative and non-emergency dental care. So many other medical problems can be circumvented with regular cleanings and filling of cavities that seems rather odd to me that there hasn’t been a big push for this sort of service.
In other news, I am considering offering a weekly podcast compilation of each week’s posts. Do me a favor, and cast a vote below to let me know if you’d like to hear my dulcet tones reading my posts each week!
I found this article via Jezebel, and I am intrigued! Apparently, the lovely and amazing Betty Dodson, founder of the sex-positive feminism movement, teaches masturbation classes for women in New York City.
Does anyone else remember the scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where Evelyn Couch and her friend Missy attend a class intended to “get the spark back in marriage”, and Evelyn practically runs out of the room when they are instructed to use mirrors to look at their own vaginas? I laughed at that when I was younger, but now I find it so sad.
Get out those mirrors, girls, and take a look. Get acquainted. I declare your vagina to be beautiful.
With so much cultural mystery surrounding the “elusive” female orgasm, I think classes like this are a fantastic idea. I mean, honestly, researchers just rediscovered how complex of an organ the clitoris is, and how, like a TARDIS, it is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. (Thanks to Doctor Xtreme for that line, and the awesome portmanteau, CliTARDIS.)
Can you imagine a world where young women were encouraged to learn to appreciate their genitals and taught how to achieve orgasm? How about classes where partners were encouraged to explore your genitals and taught how to help you achieve satisfying orgasms? I want to live in that world.
Would you attend this kind of class? I will definitely be looking into Betty’s classes the next time I am in NYC!
Last night was a night of things both wonderful and heartbreaking. Here’s my pros and cons:
- Same sex marriage (also known as “marriage”) has been legalized in three states (Maine, Maryland and Washington), and a fourth (Minnesota) struck down a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage. I’m pretty proud of my former home state, Washington.
- Wisconsin elected the first openly gay Senator, and she’s their first female Senator! Congratulations, Tammy Baldwin!
- The first Asian American female Senator, and the first Buddhist Senator, is Mazie Hirono from Hawaii.
- Bonus points to Hawaii for electing the first-ever Hindu Senator too.
- There are now 20 women in the Senate. That’s an additional three from the previous record!
- All of New Hampshire’s delegates, AND their Mayor are women.
- Most of the candidates who made headlines with ill-conceived notions regarding rape, abortion, or contraception were defeated!
- Proposition 35 in California won by a landslide. But there’s some good news, as the EFF and ACLU have already filed suit to strike it down as unconstitutional. I will remain heartbroken about this until it is struck down. I have friends who are sex workers, and I am very concerned about how this will affect them.
- Some really awful people decided that calling our President a monkey, and the “N” word were totally acceptable on Twitter.
- Donald Trump completely lost his mind last night.
Overall, I think that it was a great night, with impressive leaps forward for women and the fight for equality. I am proud of my country for making huge strides forward. Now let’s fix that economy!
PS: This marks the 100th post for Nice Girls! Thanks for joining me on this ride, and here’s to a few hundred more.
So, I know that I already had a blog post about this, but honestly, this issue is too important to me and people I care about to let it sit. If you haven’t read it already, please take a look.
There’s even more to the story. People need to know that the proposition with the “feel good” name isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
From this post:
Another HUGE problem with Prop 35 is that it mandates that anyone convicted of lewd conduct since 1944 register as a sex offender. Lewd conduct is what the police like to charge women and men working on the street with when entrapping them for solicitation seems like too much of a hassle. So thousands of people who are not traffickers and were never accused of being traffickers are going to have to register as sex offenders. And here’s another kicker – throughout the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s, when it was practically illegal to be queer, the police had a tendency to charge gay men with lewd conduct. So now thousands of gay men will be required to register as sex offenders – because they’re gay. Yes, there are people being exploited, sexually and otherwise, and they should be getting help. But Prop 35 is not the way to do it. Maybe the police should start enforcing the laws we already have against rape, statutory rape, assault, and kidnapping.
This bill has over $1.85M backing it, and the people who oppose it have no budget to buy commercial time on the radio, or TV, or for big splashy advertisements in local papers. Please. Please share this information.
Proposition 35, also known as the Ban on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery sounds like the kind of bill that no one can argue with, right? I mean, no sane person actually thinks that human trafficking or (non-consensual) sex slavery is a good thing, right? Right. That’s why these things are ALREADY illegal.
So why has Prop 35 been introduced? There is more to the bill than what meets the eye in the small blurb in your voter guide. This bill would broaden the definitions of human trafficking and sex slavery to a point where the terms could include people who have chosen to be prostitutes, as well as their customers, and people who have chosen to be adult entertainers (working in porn or as strippers). These people (men and women) who have chosen to engage in sex work could be prosecuted as “human traffickers” and sentenced to a decade in jail, with a $500,000 fine. If the police chose to do so, you could be charged with human trafficking merely by having sex with a date that paid for a meal. There’s nothing okay about that.
Here’s an excerpt from The Myth of Sex Trafficking, regarding Prop 35,
Here’s a riddle:
Q: Under §6(h)(2) of the CASE Act, what makes a sexual act into a “commercial sex act”?
A: That it occurs on account of anything of value being given or received by any person.
Here’s another riddle:
Q: Gee, does “anything of value” include buying someone dinner? A ticket to a movie? A drink?
A: “Anything of value” is not defined — but if it meant “money or its equivalent” it would say so.
Here’s a final riddle:
Q: Do you really think that prosecutors will think that they can get a jury to convict for a 19-year-old boy who takes a 17-year-old girl (or boy) to a concert, leading her to be grateful and to engage in a sexual act with him, under the CASE Act?
A: Maybe not. But if it’s your son facing 12 years in prison and being branded for life as a registered sex offender as a result of the conviction, would you be more likely to tell him to accept a plea bargain just in case? And don’t prosecutors like plea bargains to pad their conviction statistics? And have they ever been known to deploy their prosecutorial discretion somewhat selectively?
(By the way, that could be your daughter in the above example rather than your son.)
I highly recommend that all of my California readers go to the websites that discuss the pros and cons of Prop 35 (especially the blog linked above, for the cons) and educate yourself. While the proposition title sounds like a great idea, in reality, it will only increase the number of frivolous arrests and prosecutions of legitimate sex workers, and will increase the already overloaded court system.
I will be voting “no” on Prop 35. Instead of going after women and men who work in the sex industry by choice, why not help the women and men who have asked for the court’s assistance? I’d much rather see that energy, manpower, and judicial resources going towards processing the over 180,000 rape kits that are languishing in California.
I spent a little time this past Friday at the opening evening of the XO Expo, hosted by the Adult Video Network. I was expecting to see fun new sex toys, maybe some interesting demonstrations, and crowds of people.
I saw none of those. Instead, there were tattoo and piercing booths, tables of the same sex toys I can find anywhere else, and the crowds were mostly men. These men were standing around the booths with the porn stars, and the booths that were advertising local strip clubs, staring and taking pictures of the women like they had never seen a woman in a bikini ever before in their lives. It was gross, and made me feel very uncomfortable.
One booth in particular caught my eye. It was pretty incongruous with the rest of the expo. This booth was for a group called the Pink Cross (I am choosing not to link to their website, because I really don’t want to direct traffic to the site.), which is a Christian non-profit dedicated to telling the young women who are involved in the sex industry that they are bad people who just need a little more Jesus in their lives. I was completely baffled, but after delving into their website a little bit today, I am even more baffled. Some of the testimonials are just ridiculous. One was equating BDSM with the occult and devil-worship. I actually laughed out loud at that one.
While I understand that there are some young women who are forced into sex work, there are even more who choose to be a sex worker. I have many friends who work in the local pornography scene, and they are happy with what their line of work. Equating all of the women who choose to work in pornography as unwitting and unwilling participants simply doesn’t ring true to me. What are your thoughts, dear readers?