It's not about a smell, or a particular shade of yellow the pages become. I like a musty paperback as much as the next girl, but I will read Persuasion on a tablet or Jane Eyre in a spare browser tab. The dirty secret of old books—the ones you've heard of, the one's you may cringe at the thought of reading—is that they are often dirty too. And if they are skimpy on sex, they are brim-full with melodrama. This is what I can't get enough of: a crazy-ass plot buried beneath the prim patina of age. Madame Bovary: lots of carriage sex. Ulysses: actually mostly farts. Moby-Dick: a "sperm squeezing" scene that is even more masturbatory than you can imagine. Obviously these works are also rich and complicated and subtle, too, but that's no reason not to enjoy their crassness, their buffoonery, their animal charm. (And why deny yourself the bragging rights?)
I recently read a book I've been meaning to devour forever: Dracula.
What all vampire stories are about, ultimately, is sex. Full of nighttime assignations, penetration, the exchange of fluids, visceral desire and latent shame, and the fear of contagion, of contamination, of death—Dracula is no different.
Welcome to the latest installment of Ms. Opinionated, in which readers have questions about the pesky day-to-day choices we all face, and I give advice about how to make ones that (hopefully) best reflect our shared commitment to feminist values—as well as advice on what to do when they don't. This week, how to be the perfect feminist by accepting you're not the perfect feminist.
Dear Ms. Opinionated,
As a feminist I am always trying to stay up to date on news, research and blogs like Bitch. Lately, though, I have been feeling very muddled. I vocally criticize objectification of women in TV and movies, yet I am a huge fan of artists like Beyoncé and Rihanna who are marketed as sex symbols. I go on about the lack of coverage and opportunities for female athletes but I rarely watch women's sports myself. I tell my friends not to worry about their weight, but I get upset when I put on a few pounds. I confront sexual harassers on the street yet my sexual fantasies often involve domination by men. I tell myself that everyone is feminist in their own way, but it also seems that most activists and websites espouse a "right" way to be feminist. I can't help feeling that I am doing it wrong or not enough. How do I (and other women reading) reconcile all of these contradictions?
With its intrigue, espionage, thousands of inappropriate emails, and shirtless pics, the coverage of this sex scandal has everything. And by "everything," I mean a depressing amount of retrograde sexism.
This tepid installation of the longest-running movie franchise in history still peddles woman's bodies as disposable, continues the tradition of white-valued imperialism, and features a mark of homophobia. Shocked? You shouldn't be.
Polio just got a whole lot sexier! That's because later this month The Sessions, a new film starring the always incredible John Hawkes (and directed by Ben Lewin, who's disabled) will be making the rounds in theaters. I am extremely excited.
I have been told by some I am creating inspirational porn in a different form by showing images that are too queer, too sexuality provocative, and too fabulous—but I am sharing what people are sending me.
"Why do I have a playlist labeled 'Sexy Jamz' with nothing in it?" I exclaimed one day while looking through my computer's music library, "...your life," a friend said jokingly. I scoffed. But basically, the statement was true—when you're buried neck deep in papers, books, and homework, there's just no time to get down and dirty. But now it's summer, so you must just have all the time in the world to get nasty, right?
Okay, maybe it's not always quite that simple, but here are some songs that might make you feel like an awkward tween again.
PETA isn't content to restrict its sex-sells messaging to the porn site, either. The latest campaign features a woman walking down the street in her bra and underwear in a neck brace, a result of rough (like, put your head through the wall and land you in a neck brace rough) sex with her newly vegan boyfriend. Is this a PSA for sexual assault? No. It's PETA's attempt to shock us into adopting a vegan diet (or making our partners eat vegan, thus giving them the skills to leave us neck-braced and dazed enough that we forget to wear clothes to the grocery store). Because PETA thinks we should want sex to end in a neck brace, I guess?
Offensiveness of this ad aside (read more about the ways it normalizes violence against women in this post from New Black Woman), this and other similar PETA spots are just plain fucking lazy (heh). Next time they might as well skip the ad altogether and instead make a SEXXX PORN BOOBS VEGETABLES HOT BRAS word association game. Oh, wait...
Autism Speaks is an easy, easy target. And a literally huge one—it's the largest and best-funded autism "awareness" and "advocacy" (I kind of want to just call it "autism-themed") organization in the world. Autistic self-advocates rip into Autism Speaks every day because of the organization's silencing and dehumanizing rhetoric, and its focus on "curing" autism rather than dedicating its resources to practical support for autistic people. I thought I'd comb through the resources on their website to see information they might offer regarding sex, gender, and sexuality.