Posts Tagged ‘sexuality’
I hadn’t planned a TDoT post for today, but it would be remiss of me to not congratulate the Queensland Parliament for passing the bill that will allow same-sex civil unions to be recognised in the Sunshine State. It’s finally a step in the right direction, but between the amount of media coverage that the decision is receiving and some of the comments that it has provoked, I have to ask the question about where we really are with equality, tolerance and genuine open-mindedness. In my current sleep-deprived, emotionally drained condition, the most succinct way I can phrase it is this: why does there have to be so much speculation and debate about whether people deserve to be treated equally in the first place?
Isn’t this the 21st century? The question about same-sex unions shouldn’t even be an issue: it should be a basic right as human beings.
There won’t be any new TDoT posts until early next week, as I’m heading away at the weekend for my 31st birthday. Yes, I’m getting old.
Okay, I’ve finally decided to act upon the numerous emails, texts and comments from my readers, asking why I haven’t written anything in the best part of three weeks. I’d like to say that it was because I had been lacking inspiration, or that no story had compelled me to put the virtual pen to paper, but that would be a load of shit. In a nutshell, the combination of my work schedule and the general debauchery that is my life has left little time to write. Strangely enough, it’s an indirect association to the latter that convinced me to start typing this morning.
I admit it: I am not adverse to strippers. And when an article comes through on my Facebook news feed that includes the words sex slave, feminist and respect in the blurb, it arouses my curiosity. If Germaine Greer’s name is also mentioned, the arousal disappears, but I can’t help but read on.
Vivica Delicious (yeah, I think it’s an awesome name too) has written a piece for The Punch this morning, exploring how females working in the sex industry are viewed and unfairly labelled by certain sections of society . She makes a very valid point, because it seems like a lot of the individuals who are running around with their label makers are doing so uneducated, with either a poorly preconceived idea of what the sex industry is all about, or a notion that all women should be in the kitchen baking pies, popping out children and being doted upon by their husbands. Now, if any of the stationery-wielding, old-school feminists are going to send me hate mail, please include a pie – I’m partial to both apricot and lemon meringue.
Vivica covered some sex industry assumptions and facts in her article, so I’m going to try and expand on two of them with my own input, based on personal experience. I’ve spent a bit of time in various clubs, dated a few strippers and have known people working in other parts of the sex industry, so I’m going to assume that my view will be as well-rounded and based on fact as any other.
Assumption: All women in the sex industry are uneducated, slutty, drug-affected sluts with no self respect.
My thoughts: Most of the women I’ve met who have worked as strippers were anything but uneducated. The majority of them were doing undergraduate study while dancing at night to cover their living expenses and university costs. A few were at postgraduate level, while one was in the final stages of her PhD. The common theme was that stripping was a great way to make money by working irregular hours that fit in with their study commitments.
On the point of losing your self respect by working in the sex industry, nothing could be further from the truth. From what I have observed, and from what I’ve been told, getting to the point where you are comfortable enough to parade around naked takes a hell of a lot of confidence and self respect, and a very unclouded understanding about yourself as a person.
Assumption: The adult entertainment industry breeds misogynists.
My thoughts: How does this argument even begin to make sense? By definition, a misogynist is one who, amongst other things, harbours a hatred or dislike of women. If I really hated women that much, I certainly wouldn’t go to see them somewhere that I had to pay ten dollars for a beer.
On first appearances, when you take a very half-hearted look at the sex industry, it can seem like nothing more than depravity, sexuality and people – mainly younger women – taking off their clothes for money, because they have no other option. Because they have hit rock bottom, and can only use their bodies to procure income. But the truth is, for the women who work within the industry in any capacity, they are there because they are exercising their free choice to do so. They aren’t all mentally unbalanced with father issues, riddled with STDs or trying to bankroll their meth addiction. They do it because they enjoy it, generally get paid very well and, from what I have been told numerous times, find it incredibly liberating and empowering. The real issue is one that usually gets lost in the bigger picture, and that is the question of why it is anyone else’s business what someone does or doesn’t do with their lives. Unfortunately, as we apparently “progress” as a society, there seems to be less and less acceptance of free choice, and an increased propensity to condemn without understanding.
And so once again, I find myself signing off a post by asking why people can’t seem to mind their own business, focus on their own lives, and respect the choices of others.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
At some stage this morning, someone clicked on The Dissemination of Thought for the 500th time. While it may not seem like an astronomical number in the overall scheme of things, it surprised me a little bit. When I originally began TDoT, it was meant to serve no other purpose than to record random – and often incredibly abstract – musings for my own benefit. But people began to read it, and the evidence would suggest that some of you actually enjoy doing so. Personally, I’m a little disappointed that we’ve reached five-hundred views without any hate mail or death threats. Given that we’ve come this far, I should probably celebrate by writing something worthy of a Walkley, but I’m not going to. Instead, we are going to discuss Sesame Street and breasts.
The argument about marriage equality reached a ridiculous new level this week, with the launch of an online petition, the main objective of which is to convince the powers that be at Sesame Street that Bert and Ernie have been living in sin for far too long, and that wedding bells should be heard in the not too distant future. While I strongly advocate same-sex marriage, this is farcical, and I’ve identified two main issues that stand in the way of a union between Bert and Ernie.
Issue 1: Bert and Ernie aren’t actually gay.
While everyone seems to assume that they are partners, it’s not actually the case. Sesame Workshop released a statement saying “Bert and Ernie are best friends” and that they were “created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.” Essentially, people have seen two characters of the same sex who are great friends, and decided that the gay label fits. Why? For some, it helps to promote a cause. For others, it’s just easier to throw an ignorant, blanket label on something, without determining whether or not the label is justified. People can infer what they want from how Bert and Ernie interact, but they haven’t been developed as gay characters, so in my book, they aren’t. Yeah, they share a bedroom, and at times, a bed, but that proves nothing. Hell, they don’t seem to have jobs, so sharing a small apartment with one bedroom is obviously going to be the most cost-effective way to live.
Issue 2: Has anyone noticed that they are puppets?
This is an important point, so pay attention. Bert and Ernie are fucking puppets. They spend their days with someone’s hand up their asses. While I’m sure that there’s an incredibly inappropriate joke in there somewhere, everyone seems to have lost sight of the fact that Bert and Ernie are basically nothing more than foam, felt and other puppety materials. Yes, I am aware that puppety isn’t a real word. No, I don’t care – it sounds cool. A puppet is a tool of entertainment, and more importantly, an inanimate object. As such, it doesn’t have a sexual orientation, unless it has been developed as part of its character. Had the creators of Sesame Street cultivated Bert and Ernie as being gay, I couldn’t wait to see Elmo be the ring bearer at their wedding.
Lisa: Dad, what’s a Muppet?
Homer: Well, it’s not quite a mop and it’s not quite a puppet…
When I’m wrong, I’m usually really wrong. When I wrote about the perils of amateur tattooing back in October, I naturally assumed that ”penis” and “tattoo” were going to be the strangest words that I ever got to use in the same sentence. And they probably would have remained so, had The New York Times decided not to publish a story about the octogenarian who got a boob job. Stop the press, we have a new winner. Apparently cosmetic surgery is all the rage amongst those enjoying their golden years, including Californian great-grandmother, Marie Kolstad.
In all seriousness, this shouldn’t be a newsworthy story. Apart from the shock value of picturing breasts from the era of penicillin discovery, who fucking cares what someone decides to do with their own body? How many breast augmentations are done daily without global media coverage? A twenty-something friend of mine had one performed years ago, and when she came out of surgery, there wasn’t a solitary journalist to be seen. So what’s different? Age. We can’t seem to embrace the notion that people of the same vintage as our parents and grandparents want to look good and feel great about themselves. If these older individuals want to seize – or possibly rediscover – their sexuality, more power to them – I’d just prefer not to read about or imagine it. Regardless of age, people have the ability to be viewed as sexual beings, with clearly defined sexual orientations, unlike puppets.
So here we are, at the conclusion of this inane post. You made it. One can only hope that when The Dissemination of Thought pushes past 1,000 views, we won’t be philosophising about puppet nuptials or repressing the thought of 83-year-old nipples. Speaking of the latter, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and assume foetal position in the bathroom with a bottle of vodka.