Posts Tagged porn

Purity Balls and the Guardians of Vaginas

PurityIn case you did not already know (and I did not know) purity balls [insert your own joke here]  – where “ball” refers to a social gathering or dance, such as a prom, not a hairy gonad as I first thought – are a religious rite wherein girls pledge not to have sex until they’re married. 

Photographer  David Magnusson captures the, creepy, may I add,  institution of the Purity Ball in pictures where young girls pose with their fathers who glow with pride at the thought that their little girl’s vagina is safe and sound in their arms, protected from the evil penis.

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It’s like the fathers own their daughter’s vaginas (just like they think they own every woman’s uterus and vagina and everything) and they are holding that “high priced” possession, that family heirloom, in front of them, like a trophy, so that everyone really understands that this vagina here, with the woman/daughter attached to it, really is theirs to give away  and do with what they want, and no one else’s.  The guardians of the pussy, the purveyors of all of womanhood’s sexual organs.

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I must say that this one of the most fucked, creepiest and most inappropriate things have I have seen in a long while. It is amazing that this is a real thing in the world.

Now, many of you may agree that this is messed up and creepy and think that this sort of thing is confined to a few lunatics on the fringe, the extremes.

But it is not.

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A lot of men, especially Christian men, do believe they have some kind of a say to and ownership rights over a woman’s body and what a woman does with her body – vagina and uterus included-  especially if that woman is a relative or spouse.

Just enter the world of anti-choice legislation where women are treated as incubators who apparently owe the world babies.

Also look at how women in porn, for example, are referred to as “whores” and, generally, a culture that places a woman’s value as a human being between her legs, which is why porn stars are viewed as whores and thus worthless. In fact, any woman who is confident in her sexuality and has a sex life similar or comparable to that of a man is valued as less than women who are “virtuous.”

The Purity Ball images by Magnusson are a stark, obscene and visual depiction of the culture of misogyny.

The same culture that puts rape victims on trial; the same culture that values a fetus more than it values the person carrying it; the same culture that works hard to subvert a woman’s agency and bodily autonomy by closing abortion clinics or else working on taking away a woman’s right to choose, which includes access to affordable and safe abortions.

It is the same culture that disbelieves rape victims and puts them on trial as opposed to the perpetrator; the same culture that pays women less than their male counterparts for the same work; the same culture that pays for a man’s erection pills, penis pumps and vasectomies, but takes a woman’s access to birth control pills to the Supreme Court so that some dusty old relics who neither have uteri and whose penises haven’t been functioning for years can decide whether insurance companies should pay for that woman’s birth control; the same culture that holds women to standards men are rarely held to. Note that there are no sons in any of these images, only daughters.

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It is easy to view and dismiss misogyny as a relic of the past, as something that is going away, as something that only “those extremist” nut jobs engage in.

However, when talking about and looking at misogyny and the mechanisms and institutions, as well as mind-sets, that perpetuate and uphold it – in very real policy terms, it becomes apparent just how deeply misogyny is ingrained and interwoven into our society, determining ultimately how we treat women.

In other words, Purity Ball images, as creepy and amusing they may be, are not the only depictions of misogyny. They are a blatant and obvious part of it, something we can point the finger at and ridicule, even admonish, but it does not end there because misogyny is real everyday for countless women and it is deeply ingrained in our society and its institutions, from gendered slurs, jibes and insults to unequal pay and everything in between.

It is real for your daughter, your mother, your sister, your female girl-friend, your grandmother, your wife and battling it requires awareness every step of the way not just when some messed up fathers pose for pictures with their daughters whom they have shamed into thinking that sex is a terrible, sinful  thing and that it was their job, a man’s job, to tell them what to do with their bodies. These girls, when they do get older, will then just replace their fathers who tell them what to do with their bodies, with another man, such as a boyfriend, spouse or a Justice of the United Stated Supreme Court.

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The Consequences of Making Pot Illegal

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Now that the state of Colorado has legalized marijuana for recreational use starting January 1 with Washington state following suit shortly after, the pot legalization debate is getting a fresh perspective with new voices chiming in, either praising or scolding the new direction two of our states have taken.

One of the arguments many people make in favor of making marijuana illegal is that it creates crime and/or turns neighborhoods into crime zones with shady characters roaming the streets.

The reality is that all the things one associates with illicit drug use, in this case marijuana – such as shady neighborhoods, drug rings, gangs, crime, prostitution, back-door alleys and a host of other such crimes and shady characteristics – exist precisely because drugs are illegal.

See, when you make something illegal, such as pot, you create a certain kind of atmosphere and milieu that becomes conducive to those very things you want to avoid, such as shady neighborhoods, back-door alleys, gangs and criminals. When an otherwise law-abiding citizen has to go into the underground to get his supply, that person will soon be at the mercy of criminals whose least offense probably is the sale of marijuana.

If people were able to get their supplies from within a well-lit, clean store in a legitimate business center, without feeling conspicuous and paranoid that they may get caught or doing something wrong, then those criminal elements and shadiness people are complaining about would disappear.

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One great example to the point is the Hustler Hollywood store on the Sunset Strip near West Hollywood. From the outside, it looks like just any other retail space on the strip: the windows are tall and clear instead of dark and tinted with a few mannequins wearing tasteful lingerie on display. When you enter the store, it is bright and clean – with a few tables here and there where various T-shirts and sweaters with the Hustler logo and other kinky slogans are neatly folded. There is a book and magazine section, a smoothie bar, a lingerie and sex paraphernalia section, dressing rooms and employees that are dressed in civilian clothing, looking like they may be working at J.Crew.

The Hustler store in Hollywood

The Hustler store in Hollywood

The area that contains the porn DVDs is sectioned off for those who are 18 and above, but it is not behind some red curtain that has a neon sign above it reading “XXX.”

I have been to that store a few times with friends and never felt shady, sleazy and dirty and I also never got dirty looks from people one would perceive as shady, sleazy and dirty. In fact, the people I saw in there were the same kind people I may encounter in any retail clothing store. The Hustler Hollywood store has effectively managed to take what people often perceive as seedy and derogatory into the light, literally, so that people no longer have to sneak around and feel like sleazy assholes simply because they enjoy sex.

Wanna know what makes sex shops dirty? The dark covered windows that have NUDE GIRLS and XXX printed on them, the dark, badly lit interior where truly shady characters can hide behind some dark corner jerking off to women’s lingerie or some porn magazine with the employees themselves looking like they had just done a few lines of coke on urinals.

See, it is not porn itself that creates such an atmosphere and milieu, but the fact that porn is viewed as evil, out of place, dirty, perverse and illicit with lawmakers and a few religious, moral crusaders driving those businesses into shady neighborhoods where they are forced to cover up their windows in black tape and hide the fact that people not only have kinky sex but also enjoy it. By turning porn into something dirty to be hidden from society and ashamed of and thus a crime basically, you in effect aide in setting up the foundation for criminal elements.

Such a milieu, in turn, becomes the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of shady people with dubious priorities and agendas – including human traffickers, heroin dealers, petty criminals and even elements of organized crime.

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To be clear, this is not an argument in favor of legalizing heroin (although there is a legitimate point by some experts in doing that as well); the point is that making something illegal creates a host of liabilities and thus the very kind of milieu and environments that people associate with drug use and are using to oppose drug legalization in the first place.

In reality, we probably wouldn’t even be having all those criminal elements lying around if people could conduct their business – be it buying pot or porn – in a nice, clean, well-lit  and thus legitimate environment.

Life Sentence for Selling Marijuana

The reason I am talking about this today is that The Human Solution, a pot advocacy group,  revealed that while marijuana is becoming legal for recreational use in two of our states with other state legislators considering legalization as well,  at least 25 people have been condemned to live out their days behind bars because they were involved in the marijuana trade.

One such individual is James Romans, a divorced 42-year-old father of three from Indiana who dabbled in selling pot to support his family and accidentally got himself into the illicit business of a much larger, multi-million dollar drug cartel. It was eventually found out that he’d been a major player in a trafficking organization responsible for transporting more than 10,000 kilos of marijuana into the U.S. from Mexico – you know, from those cartels across the border that hack off your hands, feet and head and throw the bodies in a landfill  so they cannot be identified – those kinds of people.

Romans entered prison in April of last year. A few weeks after his arrival, his parents and sister suddenly stopped getting calls from him. They later found out that a group of inmates had rioted, prompting the guards to lock everyone in their cells for a two-week stretch.

Several months after that, according to Romans’ sister, Elizabeth Bishop, Romans returned from lunch to find guards in his cell and blood spattered all over the walls and the beds. “Somebody attempted to murder his cellmate,” his sister explained.

Romans has never been convicted of a violent crime, and Bishop, for her part, insists he’s as gentle as can be, despite the evidence that he had guns and ran the smuggling ring. “Scared of a spider” was how she put it.

The U.S funded the Guatemalan military during the 1960s and 1970s anti-insurgency war, despite awareness of widespread human rights violations. Among the recipients of U.S military funding and training were the Kaibiles, a special force unit responsible for several massacres. Former Kaibiles have joined the ranks of the Zetas drug cartel.

The U.S funded the Guatemalan military during the 1960s and 1970s anti-insurgency war, despite awareness of widespread human rights violations. Among the recipients of U.S military funding and training were the Kaibiles, a special force unit responsible for several massacres. Former Kaibiles have joined the ranks of the Zetas drug cartel.

And yet he’s sentenced to spend the rest of his life under the same roof as men like Ricky Mungia, a Texan who went on a shooting spree with some white and Latino friends in 1994, hunting down black men in the streets of Lubbock and shooting them from a car with a short-barreled shotgun.

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The war on drugs is not only a pointless one but an illegitimate one. If Romans was in the state of Colorado today doing exactly what he did back then, running a marijuana business and selling pot, he would be free and a legitimate business owner, even helping his state raise much needed revenue.

However, because marijuana is illegal federally, he was not only driven into the arms of heinous Mexican drug cartels whose least offense probably is the selling of marijuana, but he also has to spend the rest of his life with actual criminals in prison, costing tax payers around $60,000 a year just to take care of him. Moreover, his children will grow up without their father at their side and probably burned by the stigma of having a parent in prison who, any day, may be killed, raped and hurt.

I ask you, what is the bigger detriment to society? Selling pot to people or what is being done with and to Romans?

That is not justice, nor does it help better society. Romans can easily be a productive member of society because his “crime” was a faceless one (and non existent as far Colorado and millions are concerned). Him selling that pot didn’t hurt anyone, and his incarceration, aside from not being just, is an unnecessary and completely avoidable burden to society.

And that, dear reader, is the real cost we as a society pay when making marijuana illegal. Romans has now been placed in that very environment that those opposing drug legalization are trying to avoid by making drugs illegal in the first place.

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Picture of the Day

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Oh how much misogyny is plaguing this world, let me count the ways…

The July 2009 issue of GQ magazine featured Sasha Baron Cohen on its cover nude. Nothing was hanging out or anything, but his bare naked ass was showing and clearly that is considered pornography and perverse, literally, as newstands have been covering up the front page. But a tipster at a Hudson News in Manhattan noticed the decision had lead to some interesting juxtapositions. On the left is the nude body of model Bar Rafaeli on the cover of Esquire magazine – which, if you compare to the one of Cohen, pretty much exhibits the exact same level of skin. It was even  taken from the same angle.  Yet Cohen’s body on the cover of GQ is covered, while Rafaeli’s is openly on display right next to it no less.

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Clearly, while women’s bodies are meant to be put on display, stared at and objectified,  doing the same thing with a man’s body is nothing but dirty, filthy pornographic material that needs to be covered.

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Rick Santorum Photographs Lindsay Lohan, then Denies it

I love it when sanctimonious, Bible-regurgitating, supposed men of honor turn out to be real letches. Like Rick Santorum. He reportedly asked Lindsay Lohan to pose for a photo at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday but true to form for someone of his character, he later denied it.

Rick Santorum NOT checking out Lindsay Lohan

Lohan was sitting with Greta Van Susteren when Santorum approached her according to TMZ. He reportedly asked Lohan to take a picture of him with Van Susteren, then snapped a photo of Lohan alone. When a reporter asked him whether he  took a picture of Lohan, a visibly uncomfortable Santorum mumbled that he “took a picture of a lot of people today.”

This all wouldn’t be a big deal, of course, if a) he had not denied it and b) if he wasn’t a chest thumping religious bigot who has been openly against non-procreative sex  – even for married couples – and against contraception in general, the latter of which he believes to be a “license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.

It doesn’t surprise me at all that he would be secretly feening after a twenty-something year old. After all, just a few weeks ago, he vowed to dismantle the porn industry for its alleged detrimental effects on society, and you know what they say, usually the loudest opponents to something are hiding the fact that they are thmesleves doing it. Like secretly taking jerk off pictures of a bloody young hot actress and then denying it like dirty, old men ashamed of their sexuality usually do.

One of these days, like they did with bin Laden, they will uncover a stash of porn and other similar “memorabilia” from one of his computers and he’ll turn out to be a real hustler.

But jokes aside, the hypocrisy of the religious right never ceases to amaze me. This all really wouldn’t be an issue and I could not care less about a fifty something year old feening after a girl the same age as his daughters, if it weren’t for the fact that Sanotrum has repeatedly portrayed himself as a pious man of character holding the moral high ground.

For someone who once talked about the “dangers of contraception“, warning against “the whole sexual libertine idea“, it is quite strange and hypocritical to be lusting after Lohan and then denying it too, to draw even more attention to the issue. And let’s face it, you only lie if you got something to hide.

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Santroum appears to be feeling a sense of shame over this whole Lohan thing and his sexuality in general. He maybe really just thought she is attractive and he did take a picture of her because she was a celebrity – which I think is a healthy reaction to have in the first place, i.e. being attracted to a beautiful person – but since he is also such an uptight religious bigot, he appears to have a hard time reconciling his baser instincts, his human emotions, with the wall of doctrines about alleged sexual impropriety he built around himself. Hence the shame and stumbling over his words like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

He probably also really enjoys high speed internet porn but because he probably once again could not reconcile that with  his beliefs, he vowed to go after the porn industry when elected. If he cannot fight his own urges for gangbangs, creampies and triple anal, he will then just legislate it away. This way he rids himself of the temptation and can also claim a clean slate at the Pearly Gates (but why would god be against fucking?)

So this issue seems to be more about him than about porn or Lindsay Lohan. The one who has a problem here is Rick Santorum and everything else is mere projection in order to reconcile his human side with the stupid, repressing, religious side. One more reason religion is bad for everyone.

All of which brings me to my next point: sexual repression.  The root-cause of all this hypocrisy of religious people in sexual matters – i.e. preaching one thing, doing something else – is because religion is once again unnecessarily interfering with the natural order of things. There is nothing wrong with a sexually healthy man feeling attracted to a woman, any woman, and taking her pic and openly admitting it too by stating that he is a fan. But religion and these self imposed, often false moralities it creates, have made it feel wrong and a taboo, ultimately forcing people like Santorum into hiding and having to jump through hoops to cover his “tracks” like he was doing something terrible. I mean heck, as repressed as Santorum is, he’d probably deny having sex with his own wife if he didn’t have to explain the children.

Look at Michelle Bachman’s husband who loathes himself and his homosexuality so much he created a foundation aimed at praying away the gay.

It is frightening how far people will go, even so far as to deny their own nature,  to uphold some elusive, outdated moral standards and beliefs that have their basis in fairy tales. Homophobes have become the new homosexuals and in the case of Santorum, the harder a politician lobbies against something on moral grounds, the higher the chances that they are doing exactly what they preach against themselves. It is personal.

In Santorum’s case I could not care less about his sexual desires and preference for really young girls if he wasn’t standing up there preaching the opposite to everyone  – even going so far as to try to influence public policy to make up for and cover his own inadequacy.  Not that having a libido is an inadequacy, but for him it is, and therein lies the problem.

The word “hypocrite” does not even begin to cover his actions. He’s a closet freak and a real hustler, which is exactly what you expect out of someone who is so vehemently outspoken again sex.

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