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May 2015 27

By Blogbot

This Wednesday, May 27th on SuicideGirls Radio, Nicole Powers will be joined by Xenia Sin, the badass lady who is responsible for bringing the Femen movement to North America. Society calls Femen feminists, they call themselves sextremists. There’s a major difference. We’ll find out what it is, and how they turned boobs into bombs, nipples into missiles, and bodies into the kind of manifestos that had men and women up in arms all around the globe!

You can listen – and watch – the world’s leading BYOB radio show live on Wednesday nights from 8 til 9 PM [note new day/time] at our state-of-the-art all digital home: TradioV.com.

If you have questions for the SG Radio crew or our guests, you can call in during the live broadcast at: 1-855-TRV-inLA (1-855-878-4652)

For updates on all things SG Radio-related, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

**UPDATE**

Our show feat. @XeniaFemen and @SageHack was a riot — watch it here:

[..]

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Nov 2013 05

Masterminds & Wingmen Author Rosalind Wiseman Talks Hooking Up, Raising Better Boys and How To Deal With Cyber Bullies

by Darrah de jour

Masterminds & Wingmen from James M. Edwards on Vimeo.

Author Rosalind Wiseman’s bestselling book Queen Bees & Wannabes was the inspiration for the film Mean Girls,Tina Fey’s hilarious and dead-on satire of high school hierarchies. Back when Lindsay Lohan could sincerely portray a wide-eyed new girl on campus, we all related as she struggled to fit in, be herself, and decode the oft confusing and conniving girl world. In Wiseman’s latest work, she turns her attention to boys; breaking the guy code for parents, educators and young men themselves. With suicide and incarceration rates of boys averaging five to eight times those of girls, this boy bible is needed more than ever. Revealing their capacity for deep emotional life, Wiseman, a foremost anti-bullying activist, offers an important foundation to better understand and communicate with today’s boys.

Darrah de jour: How did you get started as an educator and social justice advocate?

Rosalind Wiseman: Strangely enough, I started by teaching self defense to girls, shortly after I graduated from college. I fell into it, and started a non-profit. I very quickly got to a place of wanting to address the root causes of violence. I went into where girls and boys were and I ran a non-profit for about ten years. I wrote a curricula for social competence, bullying prevention, media literacy and ethical leadership that’s used in many schools and organizations to this day.

DDJ: I remember taking self defense and it had such a powerful effect on me. It even changed my dreams.

RW: Yes, makes sense to me. It’s so fundamental [to] our sense of power and self agency over our bodies. So, if we change that, and feel better about it, it really changes the way we walk through the world.

DDJ: Something particularly unique about your method of relating to teens is that you provide a safe space for them to share their stories and feelings. I remember after the Columbine shooting, when asked what he’d say to the shooters, Marilyn Manson famously replied, “I wouldn’t say anything. I’d listen to them. Which nobody else did.” What drew you to working with tweens and teens –– especially with relation to hot topics like bullying, self-esteem and cliques?

RW: This has been the only job I’ve ever had. I graduated from college and started working on these issues. Very quickly, as a young person in her early 20s, I was struck by how many adults were giving advice but weren’t listening to the kids. So the advice was not helpful. It was not reflective of what the kids were going through. It could be very patronizing. It’s an amazing thing to have to listen to advice from somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And if you try and argue or present a different point of view it’s perceived by some adults as being disrespectful. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand that we were teaching children but we were not doing our due diligence to present them with the best information possible. That included listening to them.

The other thing was that I was very concerned… I mean, we can tell people that they have the right to do something, but they have to be able to back up that right and navigate and advocate for themselves with really concrete skills. I was very focused on [the fact] that there were some kids that were above the law. Both boys and girls. They felt like they could do what they wanted with kids that didn’t have that kind of power. I wanted to be able to address those kinds of problems. If we had a chance of wanting school to be a safe place then we needed to address those problems.

DDJ: Absolutely. I grew up with a very dominant father who had an affinity for giving advice to me that was from left field. If I argued –– even if I was trying to connect — it was seen as disrespectful.

RW: When you have a parent who sees that kind of stuff as talking back, the kid develops two responses. One is that they learn to dominate like their parent did and that their opinion matters more than other people’s, or they learn to not advocate for themselves. Becoming an adult [for them] is learning to advocate for themselves, which is really tough stuff. If you talk about boys, you have so much cultural conditioning to take it, suck it up and deal. And then you feel incredibly lonely and you feel incredibly angry. And boys have such scripted rules on how they can express their anger. They sit on it, or they drink themselves into oblivion, or they punch a wall, or they go after somebody. It’s not fair. This is so fixable.

DDJ: You’ve written about the differences in “hooking up” and “hook up culture” between boys and girls. Can you outline some of the ways that hooking up affects girls and boys differently?

RW: First of all, hooking up means different things to different kids, and that’s totally fine. One of the things that really struck me when I was working with adult people, older people, was when we were talking about hooking up and I was talking about how a boy will feel really betrayed when he’s hooking up with a girlfriend or a girl he’s been hooking up with for a while, and then she hooks up with a couple of other boys and he finds out about it… the answer back was, ‘Did they have sex or did they not have sex? Did they have intercourse?’ I was like, ‘You don’t get it. That’s not the point.’ The point is that the boy felt betrayed. However he defines hooking up, it doesn’t matter. This whole thing that if you have sexual intercourse then it means more, or maybe a better way of saying it is, everything else doesn’t matter is totally ridiculous. It absolutely dismisses that person’s opinion or emotional reaction to the betrayal. So, here you have this 16-year-old boy who has a girl who messed around with him and three different guys and he has the right to be upset about this. Regardless of whether or not this girl had sex with these three other boys. That is a generational shift that is huge. So, you’ve got statistics that say teen pregnancy is down, rates of sexual intercourse are later, but I think –– and I think this is positive for the majority of kids –– that they talk about sex more easily with each other. As a boy, you know that a girl you’re hooking up with could hook up with someone else. And based on her social status, frankly –– and this is where the problem is –– she’s either gonna be able to hook up with whoever she wants and have no social consequences whatsoever or her social status will increase. Or, if she has low social status, then she will be really vulnerable to being attacked and dismissed, ridiculed and degraded as being a whore or a slut.

The majority of boys want to have sex, they want to hook up with people, but at the same time, just like girls –– you know girls want to hook up, have sex, mess around and not have responsibility, but those same people, the next day, might want something that’s really emotionally engaged.

DDJ: Is hooking up ever a good thing?

RW: I want teenagers to be able to come into their own sexuality in a sex positive way. The only way to do that is for young people to understand why that’s so hard and how that’s so hard in a gendered way. The legacy and the baggage that girls have about [that is] what stops them from being sex positive. I want girls to understand how to go up against somebody that attacks them for being a slut or a whore. I want a 13-year-old girl to clearly understand that a 17-year-old boy who’s asking her to go hang out with him for the night is somebody who wants the power dynamic to be in his court. That he’s going after her not because she’s cute but because she won’t be able to say no. I want the boys to understand that they also have the right to say no. That they don’t have to say yes to every single sexual advance that comes their way. I want boys to understand why girls are so unclear about what they do and do not want in their sexual interactions with them.

For girls and for boys, after girls have been sexually assaulted, these [are] things that we see when people pile on the victim and say, ‘you’re a whore, you’re a slut, how dare you come forward.’ I want them to understand that they are literally being co-opted into this system and participating in the degradation of someone. In the absence of that context, they fall prey to this really regressive kind of conversation –– or lack of conversation –– that adults rarely have with young people.

DDJ: I’m nodding emphatically over here. Let’s get back to that topic. You claim that boys have a deep emotional life. I’ve always felt that the traditional socialization of boys hampers their future evolution, which contributes to unhappy marriages, workaholism, and feelings of depression and alienation as men. How can we free boys’ ability to express emotions, without emasculating them?

RW: The women in their lives need to be strong authority figures with a good sense of humor, who have no problem saying, ‘Yeah, that — whatever that thing it is you just did — that is over the line. No, I don’t give a shit if you think I’m being uptight. Fuck off.’ And then laugh about it. To be able to handle when boys are pushing boundaries. As a mother I think it’s really important to deal with the legacy that we have around being in the presence of a man who is angry. There are women who are abusive to men, certainly. But being in the face of a man’s anger and capitulating or –– and we get this from any of our relationships –– the idea that it’s more important to maintain the relationship you have with somebody than how you’re treated in that relationship. Both boys and girls can have that in their friendship groups.

When mothers capitulate to their sons and don’t hold boundaries with their sons, their sons stop respecting them as an authority figure for everything and they lose the relationship and the intimacy that they wanted in the first place.

[Boys] don’t want to be emotionally stunted. At some point boys forget that they have the right to have a rich emotional life.

For dads, I think they’ve bought into the stereotype of boys being stupid and only caring about eating nachos and having sex. I do know that there are a lot of boys who want stronger, richer relationships with the men in their lives.

DDJ: As you know, I covered the Steubenville rape case for SuicideGirls. That case, and the gang rape and murder of a medical student in India, pushed the subject of sexual assault into the limelight and served as a trigger for a lot of people. These ghastly events proved to be pivotal ones. The accused Steubenville teens were convicted and new conversations around teen drinking and non-consensual sex were started. Furthermore, laws changed in India because of fervent activism there. How can young men form healthier attitudes about young women when so many societal signals – including those in the media –– cultivate violent and objectifying ones?

RW: The sound bites we give boys like “make healthy decisions…” If I could stop an adult from ever saying “make healthy decisions” again I would feel my job is done. I’m serious! (Laughs.) It’s like, do you hear how inane you are? Do you understand the complexities of life, and you think “make healthy decisions” is an appropriate and effective response? Yeah, sure.

My answer is, get away from sound bites –– which includes “You know, no means no, right?” It’s an important sound bite. Adults need to say that to boys, but they have to say it in a context, which is: if you are somebody who likes to party –– and I’m not going to judge you on this right now that’s a whole different conversation –– but if on chance, you like to socialize and that socializing includes alcohol or drugs and people taking pictures of each other doing things that are embarrassing or stupid, sober or drunk or high, if you do that and you’re a part of that situation and you see something that’s going off the rails, or you’re with somebody that is drunk, maybe not crazy, falling over drunk, but you’ve seen them at five other parties but they’ve managed themselves… We need to provide that kind of context. ‘No means no,’ I get it, but you need to understand there’s a reason people can communicate unclearly in those moments and they can say “maybe.” Maybe is not yes. Maybe, I don’t know, my friends are downstairs. When a woman says ‘my friends are downstairs’ that doesn’t mean she wants to have sex with you if her friends weren’t downstairs. That actually means she wants to leave. But how do you say that to a boy? Nobody talks about rape. But if we say “no means no” as a soundbite, a boy is going to think, ok, a boy is sober, a girl is sober and he’s forcing her down and she is saying stop, stop. That is not the way that most of these rapes are going down. So we need to give them a context for it.

Second thing is, we have to stop giving boys crappy advice about relationships, like girls put holes in condoms. Hook up Saturday, abort on Sunday. We have to recognize that boys are getting awful, awful advice from people in their own lives, not just the media.

We need men turning to the boy in their life during a commercial break and saying, ‘You’re in tenth grade now. You went to that party Saturday night and I’m not asking you what happened, but I just want you to know that stuff is complicated. I remember a friend of mine hooking up with a girl that I really liked and I didn’t know what to do about it. If you ever want to talk to me about it, I’m here.’ And a couple hours later, that boy’s probably going to say, ‘Hey, tell me that story again.’

DDJ: I was talking openly with a guy friend of mine… He said sometimes it’s confusing because a girl will say no, but she’s laughing and he doesn’t know if he should keep going or what. The messages guys are getting from their peers and maybe even their father is just to continue and the girl will eventually give in.

RW: Girls laugh because they are uncomfortable or they don’t want to be perceived as… you know that whole slut crap baggage is in your brain. Or you pretend that you’re clueless that this is happening, like ‘What? You want to have sex with me? Are you kidding?’ But that’s that slut language that’s in our head that makes it much harder for us to communicate clearly. Or you’re laughing because you’re nervous and you really don’t want to be doing this. And that’s what parents need to talk about or else they’re setting their children up for misinterpretation and assault.

DDJ: Do you do any work with gay, bi and transgender youth? How do their needs differ from those of their straight counterparts?

RW: Everybody wants to feel loved and acknowledged. It really varies by community. Some schools and communities are like, ‘Great.’ It’s not going to really do anything. Those boys would be able to talk to their straight friends about their relationships and be fine. There are schools in this country where that’s possible. Then, of course, there are places where you can’t do that and you’re ashamed and run out of town. It really depends on where you’re coming into your own and how stable your home life is. Because I’m straight and a female and married, it was always really important to me to be as adamantly outspoken as I could to support these kids and their rights.

DDJ: In Masterminds & Wingmen you cover topics like porn and video games. How much do you think male teens’ access to video games and free online porn, with little conversation about the reality of lovemaking, femininity, and the female experience, affects their interactions with girls?

RW: They’re gonna say it doesn’t. I get into very big debates with the boys about this. You could show me studies that say killing a prostitute in Grand Theft Auto 5 and then taking back the money that you gave her for her services does not impact your respect for women. I don’t really care. Boys that I really like and respect will say to me, ‘This has not affected my relationship with women and girls.’ They are modeling in my relationships with them their point. I respect what the boys are saying. But that and the torture part of it is where my line is. I don’t have a problem with first person shooter games. The thing I’m much more worried about is that online you’re calling girls fat, whore, slut, pig, whenever you hear a girl’s voice come online when you’re playing a multi-player game. You want to take the argument with me that this doesn’t disrespect girls, well then, the next time you’re in the middle of a game, and some guy starts flaming and trolling a girl you get up and you say, ‘No, this gamer girl has a right to be here, shut up!’ And, they’re not. They’re not coming to the girl’s defense, they’re not reporting the troll. You make those toxic environments in those games. It could be any game. If you stand up for a civil dialogue in those communities, then I will stop getting on your case about GTA 5. But, until then, come up with a different argument.

GTA 5 only has lower power women and degradation. There’s no sex-positive prostitute in GTA 5. That’s the only role they’re allowing women to play in this game. What does that say about the game designers? I’m just in the starting place of working with game designers about the culture in which their games are supporting.

DDJ: Do you think that reading Masterminds & Wingmen will help young men prepare for and navigate the beer-infused, highly competitive social landscape of college life?

RW: They can read Masterminds if they want, but I want them to read this free e-book I wrote for the boys called The Guide: Managing Douchebags, Recruiting Wingmen, and Attracting Who You Want. That’s for them. I put together The Guide with 200 guys about the most likely, annoying, frustrating, excruciatingly miserable experiences you might have in high school. The boys and I have worked in collaboration on what is the best way to get through these situations. It’s free and boys can download it. Men in their 20s have told me that it’s been really helpful.

Pick up Rosalind Wiseman’s new book Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World and stay in touch with her at: www.rosalindwiseman.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Darrah is a freelance journalist and consultant, with a focus on sensuality, environmentalism, and fearless women in the media. She appears as a “Woman on the Street” on The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet and has contributed to The Conversation website. Her lifestyle writing and celebrity interviews have appeared in Marie Claire, Esquire and W, among others. She contributes author and filmmaker interviews to The Rumpus and Hollywood Today. Her dating confessions have appeared in GirlieGirl Army and xoJane. Darrah’s “Red, White and Femme” columns for SuicideGirls take a fresh look at females in America – investigating issues like gender, bisexuality, sex work, motherhood and more. Subscribe to her blog at Darrahdejour.com/, and friend her on Facebook.

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Oct 2012 24

by Steven Whitney

As if the illegal Iraq War and the botched Afghan War were not enough, it seems as if Republicans are going to war against damn near everybody but old, rich white guys.

First up is their War on Facts – their avalanche of misstatements has set a new record (and a new low) in both congressional and campaign practices. The GOP lies about Obama’s record and Romney assiduously avoids any concrete facts about his own plans.

There’s a closely related War on Science – it contains too many perplexing facts and, after all, faith provides all the answers we need.

There‘s a covert War on Voting Rights, particularly VWB (Voting While Black) and VWP (Voting While Poor) – and then the very visible War on GLBTs, especially those who want to hold their weddings at Chick-fil-A.

There’s an open War on Immigrants – in Arizona, and despite being sued by the Department of Justice for racial profiling, the self-aggrandizing Sheriff Joe rounds up Hispanics, detains them in dehumanizing tent city corrals, verbally taunts them, and heads them back over the border. In Missouri, Republican Steve King also views them as animals, recently doubling down on his statement last May that “comparing immigrants to dogs is a compliment.”

There’s a War on Education and the snobs who attend college. And a War on Healthcare – Romney wants to repeal Obamacare on Day One and turn Medicare into a voucher system benefitting insurance companies. (If you have a serious pre-existing condition, do you really think a voucher is going to help you get coverage?)

Then there’s the War on Labor – particularly those nefarious teachers, firemen, postal workers, and policemen who are getting obscenely rich lapping up money from the public trough.

And Romney himself apparently wants to go to war with Big Bird and Iran.

To a degree, I understand their warmongering on these issues – racism, xenophobia, selfishness, skullduggery, and outright stupidity have always found a place in our politics, although never to the extent bandied about by Republicans in this election cycle.

But what I cannot comprehend is the Republican War on Women. While the GOP denies any such crusade, a mere summary of their actions suggests otherwise.

The Republican platform calls for a Constitutional ban and criminalization of abortion without exception – not rape, not incest, not even if the mother’s life is severely endangered by her pregnancy.

It denounces contraceptive education in schools while encouraging teenagers and young adults to abstain from sex until marriage.

Virginia Republicans passed a bill requiring women to undergo invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds at least 24 hours before having an abortion. Other state legislatures in GOP control quickly followed suit, proposing bills with identical or more severe mandates.

In Michigan, GOP representatives banned Rep. Lisa Brown from speaking “for violating the decorum of the House” after she mentioned the word “vagina” during a debate on women’s healthcare. In defending their action, Republicans characterized the word vagina as “offensive, disgusting, and vile.”

In Congress, Darrell Issa (R, CA) created an Oversight Committee panel to shape policy on Women’s Reproductive Rights without a single woman invited to contribute, either as a panelist or speaker.

For the last several years, House Republicans have vociferously attacked and attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, a non-profit that serves 1 in every 5 women sometime during their lives. The GOP also wants to repeal Title X, which provides breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and testing for all STDs to low-income women. Without Title X’s preventive care, thousands of American women will needlessly die before their time.

If their positions on healthcare weren’t enough to reveal the GOP’s stunning misogyny, consider the sexist invective they employ to put women in their rightful place.

It’s no fluke that drug felon Rush Limbaugh – considered by many to be the ex-officio head of the Republican Party – labeled a female law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” for speaking to House Democrats about the importance of requiring insurance companies to cover birth control. And it’s no surprise that Rush – who takes Viagra-fueled holidays in the Dominican Republic, famous for its teenage sex trade – encouraged her to send him video tapes of her own sexual activities. Rush, of course, originated the term “Feminazis” for women seeking equal rights and protections under the law, so is it any wonder he likes to watch?

In her book, What I Saw at the Revolution, Peggy Noonan – Reagan speech writer and chronicler/pundit of all things GOP – likened women who have abortions to Germans exterminating Jews during World War II.

Following his widely disseminated remark about “illegitimate rape,” Republican Todd Akin called Claire McCaskill – his opponent in the Missouri Senate race – “one of those dogs.”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A Google search for “republican sexist comments” returns thousands of examples. Just this week GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said he came to realize that pregnancy as a result of rape was “something that God intended to happen” and a “gift from God.”

Is it any wonder that Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic bill mandating equal pay for equal work? Or that the GOP views women as less than equal citizens?

One has to ask: Do Republicans still blame Eve for biting into the apple? Were all their mothers Mommie Dearests? Do they feel emasculated by women? Are they threatened by empowerment?

What is it with these guys? Don’t any of them have daughters?

This isn’t political, it’s neither right nor left, it’s just a human truth – if any father seeks to deny his daughter(s) the same rights, opportunities, and benefits that boys (or men) possess, then he must relinquish his “Best Dad in the World” coffee cup for one that designates him a “Bozo Dad.”

What father wants his daughter to be coerced by law to birth a child sired by a serial and violent rapist – or to be forced to carry a child at the risk of her own life?

What father wants decisions about his daughter’s medical care left in the hands of an all-male House Oversight Committee task force, or by a squeamish male legislature that can’t even say the word vagina?

What father wants his daughter to die prematurely because she couldn’t afford breast and cervical examinations that are now covered by Title X, Planned Parenthood, and Obamacare?

What father deems his daughter less capable than a man to make choices about her own life?

What father adheres to a religious group that values his daughter less than any other person. Or a political party that demeans her through legislation and verbal sexist abuse?

What father doesn’t want his daughter to be all she can be? Or to have the opportunity to achieve everything she wants while pursuing her personal goals And how can she do that without equal rights and equal protection under the law?

What kind of father envisions his daughter as a second-class citizen?

Having a daughter is the greatest gift any man can receive, for through them we finally learn the meaning of and experience a love that is completely unselfish. Wives and lovers bring us much pleasure and happiness, but they are equal partners in our lives, with the expectation of equal “give and take.” But because daughters light up our lives in countless ways, fathers want nothing back from them, except perhaps that they find their own particular brand of happiness.

Those who most severely criticize this new brand of far-right Republicans often accuse them of putting their party before the country they were elected to serve. But for me, their most repugnant betrayal is putting the GOP agenda before their own daughters.

These days our daughters are brought up to think for themselves in all things. Are they now expected to willingly turn over their rights and decisions to an out of touch Republican agenda? If anything qualifies as an “illegitimate rape” that does.

And as a father, my response is simple: I value my daughter more than anyone else on earth and I will fight to my last breath anyone who makes any kind of war on her. And I think every father, deep down, must feel the same.

This November, every father in America is faced with a clear choice. And I suggest each of them votes for the platform that will most benefit and honor his daughter(s).

It’s the least we owe our daughters for bringing both joy and true meaning to our lives…and for shining the light of unconditional love into our hearts.

Related Posts:
The Rich Get Richer
Interview: Greg Palast – Billionaires And Ballot Bandits
Non-Chemical Dependency
Political Ramblings And Random Thoughts
From Death And Despair. . . Dreams Can Soar
Modest Solutions To Voter Suppression
Character. . . And The RNC
The Do-Damage Congress: Who’s Responsible?
Worse Than A Do Nothing Congress
Forget The Barbeque On Labor Day – It’s Time To Take Care Of Business
Chicken Shits: The Slippery Slopes of Chick-fil-A
The Vagina Solution
Fighting Back Part 4: The Big Liar, Intimidation And Revenge
Fighting Back Part 3: Fighting Fire With Fire
When The Past Is Prologue
Fighting Back Part 2: Defining Rovian Politics
Fighting Back
The Electoral Scam
Being Fair
Occupy Reality
Giving. . . And Taking Back
A Tale Of Two Grovers
A Last Pitch For Truth
America: Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.
Gotcha!

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Jul 2012 11

by Nicole Powers

“Why are we giving any credence to anybody who says ‘I would like to reduce the number of abortions and the way that I want to do that is to remove all access to birth control.’”
– Lizz Winstead

Lizz Winstead is one of the bravest comedians around today. She talks about abortion with a rare candor, as is a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood. Her work raising awareness and funds (over a million dollars to date!) for the organization has not surprisingly raised the ire of the religious right, but she stands firm, fighting for women’s reproductive rights at a time when in recent history they’ve never been more in peril.

In her new book, Lizz Free Or Die, she devotes a chapter to her own experience as a frightened and bewildered teenager who discovered she was pregnant, and who was even more frightened and bewildered by the reactions of the adults she trusted to give her honest advice, help, and support.

The book also features essays, which are poignant and hilarious in equal parts, on her upbringing in a conservative Catholic family, her coming of age as a stand up comedian in Minneapolis, the roots of The Daily Show which she co-created, and the rise and fall of Air America which she co-founded.

We caught up with Lizz by phone. Though the native Minnesotan currently calls New York home, she spoke to us from Texas where she’d just done one of her numerous Planned Parenthood stand up fundraising shows. This particular one raised money for a clinic that had recently lost every penny of its state funding for essential community services such as teen pregnancy testing and health care.

Read our exclusive interview with Lizz Winstead on SuicideGirls.com.

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Jan 2012 23

by Darrah de jour

Lux Alptraum is the 29-year old editor of pop culture giant Gawker Media’s sister site Fleshbot — the web’s North Star of sexuality and adult entertainment. It garners 1 million uniques a month. Given that Fleshbot is edited by a woman, there’s a delectable juxtaposition of raucous imagery meets female-approved editorial. So when Alptraum says, of porn star Sarah Vandella, “[She] is so sweet and sassy that you just want to c*** all over her face,” there’s a simultaneous squirm and awe that goes on as a woman. Did a chick just say that about another chick? Yup, folks, she did. So, in an era where prostitutes have publicists, and football stars do PSA’s about a woman’s right to choose, we couldn’t help but wonder: is Lux just a pliable paper femme molded by the boy’s club she inhabits? Or, is she our new Linda Carter? Let’s get down and dirty with this Lower East Side babe and find out!

Darrah de jour: You won my heart with those doe eyes when I read 21 Questions With…in New York magazine. Plus, you like Hello Kitty. I’m in love already. What is the compliment that you receive most often from men?

Lux Alptraum: I don’t know! I’m apparently really good in bed.

Ddj: So, you’re a 20-something successful single living in NYC. What’s different about your experience versus Carrie Bradshaw’s in Sex and the City?

LA: [Laughs.] My apartment is a lot more expensive than hers is. I write more than one column a week. I don’t have anywhere near as many shoes as she does. And I live on the Lower East Side, not Uptown. I think I dress better, too. I’ve always felt more like a Samantha, as trite as that is to compare yourself to a character on Sex and the City, but I think Carrie is driven to find something serious, whereas Samantha is just looking to find something that works.

Ddj: Back in 2007, you began your blog Boinkology — the convergence of culture and sex from your unique P.O.V. You attained a great following from that. Did Gawker discover your blog and then reign you in to be editor of Fleshbot?

LA: Kind of. I showed off my writing on Boinkology, which is kind of how Gawker found me. But it was also through friends that worked there and they connected me. When they needed a fill-in, they called me in and then they kept me on.

Ddj: Did you have any hesitance before stepping on board, because of the graphic nature of what you’d be looking at each day?

LA: No. I’ve always been in adult content prior to this.

Ddj: You host the Fleshbot Awards. Tell me about that?

LA: The Fleshbot Awards are the only awards show for sexy pop culture. We’ve done it twice now and they’ve been a success each time. The awards break down into two categories: we have culture awards where we award things like sexiest movie, sexiest fashion, sexiest TV show, sexiest art. We’ve had everyone from Alan Cumming to Molly Crabapple in the culture awards. We also recognize crossover stars. Last year’s mainstream to porn one was Levi Johnston and porn to mainstream was Sasha Grey. This year, Chyna, who went from being a wrestler to being a Vivid movie star was our mainstream to porn crossover and Joanna Angel was our porn to mainstream. The award show is about recognizing people who are doing really awesome sexy stuff that promotes positive ideas about sexuality, celebrates the human body, celebrates sex. We also have really awesome performances. It’s about celebrating everybody – trans people, gay people, straight people, of all different backgrounds. It’s a one of a kind event.

Ddj: I read somewhere that you used to be a roller-derby girl. Tell me about that?

LA: I was. For three and a half years. I got involved with Gotham Girls in 2004 when they were just starting out. I didn’t know how to skate, I learned to skate to play roller derby. It was interesting too, because when I joined it was really rough and tumble and loose, and roller derby itself was very punk rock. It’s still punk rock but back then people were still figuring out what the sport was going to be. It’s gotten dramatically more athletic and more professionalized. People got rid of the silly costumes and…train hard and take it really seriously — which I think is awesome. What started off as this ‘let’s get drunk and hit each other’ type thing has become a serious sport.

Ddj: Riot Grrrl turns Lilith Fair?

LA: Yeah, yeah. More like being a garage band to getting really, really serious about your music.

Ddj: What was the name of your team?

LA: Queens of Pain.

Ddj: You wrote an amusing yet very useful guide to casual sex called, Booty Call Like A Boss. I consider it the Thomas Guide of booty calls, meets Emily Post, ahem. What is the most common and fatal mistake made by men and women when trying to ascertain a F.W.B. type relationship?

LA: Not being upfront and communicating what you want. And that’s not just about casual sex, that’s with all sorts of relationships. But, I think a lot of times, people are too scared to say what they want because ‘what if I say that and it’s not what the other person wants?’ Or they are not sure what they want or they’re worried about offending the other person. So they keep going and hoping it will work out the way they want. I’m guilty of that too. On the flip side, let’s say you want to be in a relationship and you don’t communicate that because the person has explicitly said they don’t want that and you keep going hoping it will turn into something else. Having ridiculous expectations and not communicating. You can’t hold regret. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with casual sex obviously, but there’s something wrong with having casual sex when that’s not what you really want. It’s just damaging and you’re doing yourself a disservice and setting yourself up to fail by entering into a situation where you want something completely different than what you’re communicating you want. It’s entirely possible that the person will end up being your boyfriend or girlfriend, but it’s entirely possible they won’t. I want to go on the record as saying that serious relationships can come out of casual sex. You can have sex on the first date and end up marrying them. I’m not trying to slut shame.

Ddj: In 2011, Slate published an article called “Sex is cheap: Why young men have the upper hand in bed, even when they’re failing in life.” This bold piece, written by a man, asserts that partly because of porn, “the market ‘price’ of sex is currently very low….Porn gives men additional sexual options — more supply for his elevated demand — it takes some measure of price control away from women.” What do you think about the so-called price of sex? Do women really have less power because men have more access to porn now?

LA: There are so many things that baffle me there. Number one, I don’t know why anybody would watch porn rather than have sex. The whole “price of sex” thing bothers me because it bothers me to see women set up as gatekeepers. I often feel like, in my relationships, the dudes are the gatekeepers. I have a way higher sex drive than any guy I’ve ever dated. It’s weird, this idea of women using sex to get security or stability or a relationship. Other than for reproduction, I don’t think people should use sex to achieve some larger goal. Even the idea of premarital sex. It’s only premarital sex if you intend on getting married.

Ddj: You wrote a story about Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace for The Atlantic recently. You make a comparison between Lovelace and porn star-turned-actress Sasha Grey. What do you see as the bind between the two ex-adult performers?

LA: Grey’s not been particularly enthusiastic about the adult industry since she started focusing more heavily on her mainstream career. She’s not involved with any adult industry stuff and I feel like she’s gone on the record as saying she wants to get away from porn. She’s not the adult industry boost that once she was.

Ddj: Is there a general distaste for Grey in the adult industry?

LA: I can’t speak to what other people feel, but she went on the record numerous times saying that she wasn’t going to be like Jenna Jameson and she wasn’t trying to get out of the industry and that she loves her work and then she pretty much turned her back on it. She comes across as a bit of a hypocrite.

Ddj: Two Lovelace biopics are underway, one with Amanda Seyfried and one with Lindsay Lohan’s replacement, Malin Akerman. If you had the casting powers, who would you net to play her?

LA: I think Amanda Seyfried is pretty good. I’m curious to see what happens.

Ddj: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

LA: Yeah, of course, absolutely. I think feminism is a philosophy based on the idea that gender should not be the primary consideration when you are dealing with a person.

Ddj: What’s your favorite dive bar in NYC?

LA: The Double Down Saloon on Avenue A.

Ddj: What’s the best spot to meet single men in a busy city?

LA: The Internet.

Ddj: I saw some of your food posts on Facebook. Are you veggie?

LA: I’ve been vegetarian for 22 1/2 years.

Ddj: Before we go into Flash Five, I want to get your opinion on something. We have an ongoing debate on SG Radio about texting versus calling. What would you rather get from a suitor, a text or call?

LA: A text. I don’t remember the last time I talked on the phone with somebody I was casually involved with.

Flash Five:

Ddj: Favorite Comic Book?

LA: A Child’s Life by Phoebe Gloeckner

Ddj: Vice?

LA: Sex

Ddj: Favorite place?

LA: My bed

Ddj: Any Regrets?

LA: I try not to regret things. I try to learn from them.

Ddj: Best Advice you’ve ever received and from who?

LA: I was very sad because my ex was moving away and I said, “You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” And he turned to me and said “You are the best thing that’s ever happened to you.” Not sure if that’s advice, but they’re good words to live by.

Ddj: You’re your own hero.

LA: Yes.

***

Post-feminist sex and sensuality expert Darrah de jour is a freelance journalist who lives in LA with her dog Oscar Wilde. Her writing has appeared in Marie Claire, Esquire and W. In her Red, White and Femme: Strapped With A Brain – And A Vagina columns for SuicideGirls, Darrah will be taking a fresh look at females in America. Hear her being interviewed about female sexuality on the WingGirlMethod.com, visit her blog at Darrahdejour.com/srblog, and find her on Facebook.

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Jan 2012 20

by Yashar Ali

Note to men: if your sense of masculinity depends on avoiding ever having to buy a plastic tube filled with cotton, you’ve got way bigger problems than you realize.

Earlier this year, I was watching a repeat episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The guest on particular this episode was Dr. Oz, who was tasked with answering a series of health questions, many of which were related to women’s reproductive health.

After Dr. Oz answered a question about douching, Oprah turned to a gentleman who was sitting in the audience and (with some humor) apologized to him for being stuck listening to all the conversation about “womens’” stuff and being seen in on TV for participating in an episode that dealt with, among other topics, menstruation and menopause issues.

The gentleman turned out to be Major League Baseball player, Jim Thome, who plays for the Chicago Whitesox. He had brought his wife to the Oprah show as a gift (tickets to the Oprah Show were nearly impossible to come by). 

Oprah’s interaction with Jim Thorne left me fuming. Why should we feel bad for him? Why would Oprah feel bad for him? I am an Oprah fan, but her apology was uncharacteristic for someone who spends her life advocating for and helping women.

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