Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Orgasmatron: No longer just a Motorhead song

No, really: the Orgasmatron is now a bonafide treatment-in-development for the brand-spanking-newest woman's health issue: FEMALE SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION!!!

My sister just directed me to a doc that's right up my alley (I am very interested in Big Pharmaceutical Ploys, and, well, sex is always awesome): Orgasm Inc. I'd like to direct any curious *Canadian* (sorry, I really doubt that this streaming works outside of Canada) eyes to this video about the (erm) treatment of Female Sexual Dysfunction.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to finish watching the documentary. So far, most of the criticism of the pharmaceuticals is applicable to many topics other than women's health - the creation of a new "disease". Not that maybe women aren't as encouraged to do things like ...masturbate... like men are. Or that the media really misrepresents women's sexuality... it's a medical problem. No, really. A disease. A dysfunction.

Apparently the only conclusive thing that drug trials for these new female sexual dysfunction drugs have found are: actually women, in general, DO like porn.

Also, I learned a new term for orgasm: "hysterical paroxysms". Sounds sexy, no? It dates back to the time when rich Victorian women who were having hysterical fits would go to their doctors and be stimulated with a vibrator as a cure.

Anyway, this doc is very interesting if you're interested in female sexuality... but also if you're interested in the creepy ass techniques of pharmaceutical corporations and how they really make themselves some cash moneys.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Keep Sex Safe

Abstinence-Only produces results.

I just went through a brief obsession with the early years of the AIDS crises. As far as STDs go, HIV/AIDS seems to be the ultimate one. It was first noticed as a mysterious rash of illnesses such as Kaposi's Sarcoma striking young men, causing them to suffer and die from ailments that were usually associated only with older men (from CBC Archives).

At this time, we have many ways of treating HIV/AIDS. We have drugs that control it for many years, and allow people who have contracted it to live fulfilling lives, so it's not the death sentence it was in the '80s. We're even making major advances as far as prevention goes. But a CONDOM remains the only way to really contain the virus.

We all make stupid decisions sometimes when we're drunk. Or young and easily bullied. Or whatever. I think most people who are sexually active have slipped up at least once and had unprotected sex. At least we're usually vaguely aware that it's a BAD idea.

But listening to the different bits about the early years of the AIDs crises on CBC's archives was frightening. How terrifying it would have been, to be a young person, hearing about this virus. Or to contract it. And yet, the easy assumption that it was a "gay" or "junkie" disease - made bitterly obvious by people saying, as I've heard very occasionally today "Oh, I don't sleep with people who hang around people like that".

I suppose the rash of musicians and celebrities dying from AIDS at the time helped make people feel frightened and worried about the virus.

And, it seems that the advent of HIV/AIDS at least helped to push people towards a more public and more comprehensive sex education, even with all the shock that sexuality was even mentioned on public media.

I've been ranting about this a lot lately, it seems. One reason why I cannot bring myself to ever support religious world charities, especially if they're working in Africa. The movement for abstinence as a solution to the spread of AIDS (which isn't just a crisis in Africa, it affects many developing countries, Africa is just the most publicized) is, in my opinion, a crime against humanity. The consistent blocking of Sex Education, in the face of the AIDS virus (as the US government spearheaded under George Bush, as the Catholic Church strongly supports, and many other Christian charities) is a fucking travesty. But hey, it's making LOTS of money for the big drug companies!! (Go team "morality"). Condoms are cheaper than life-long drug treatments - but what is it we invest in?

But it's frightening that people are talking about Abstinence-based sex education. Even though, everything suggests that Ab-Only is a BAD idea - at least in the States it has been. It's bad enough that many religious groups like to make people feel guilty for wanting or having sex. How fucking sinful it is to have a libido. But to willingly deny people the information and ability to take care of themselves, is criminal. It worries me that Obama hasn't done much to repeal the mistakes of Bush in that arena. And it worries me that Canada often likes to follow the US's mistakes like a lost and stupid puppy. Our current prime minister has a hankering for more Christian "morals" in our government and school systems (think about some of Alberta's more questionable policy shifts lately. We're not as well-educated as we should be already.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fuck You, Roman Polanski

Few things have annoyed me as much as the recent outcry about Roman Polanski's arrest. After I bit my lip and didn't say anything to a customer who was ranting about how Polanski deserves to not go to jail, (13 year olds, back then, they weren't really children the way they are now [forgot to mention the bit where he drugged her first, I guess]) etc, I picked up (by chance) the Globe and Mail from last Tuesday (September 29th). They published some in-support-of-Polanski quotes.

I am going to take this time to respond to them.

Emphasis is added by me.

Debra Winger: "Despite the Philistine nature of the collusion that has now occured, we came to honour Roman Polanski as a great artist ... We hope today this latest order will be dropped ... It is based on a three-decade old case that is all but dead except for a minor technicality"
* By "minor technicality" I suppose you mean the bit where he actually drugged and raped someone. A someone who was still a child. And then, he fled from his sentence? That's called breaking the law. It's not a "minor technicality".

Harvey Weinstein: "Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time... I hope the US government acts swiftly because filmmakers are looking for justice to be properly served".
* Mr. Weinstein, I am going to deduce, from your statement, that drugging and raping a child is not a crime in your eyes. And he certainly has served a good 30 years, partying, living the good life, travelling, ...oh... wait. That's NOT the same thing as serving time.

Frederic Mitterand (call me English swine, I have no idea how to insert the proper accents to his name): "To see him like that, thrown to the lions because of ancient history, really doesn't make any sense. There is an America that we love ... There is also a certain America that scares us
* Your analogy doesn't make any sense - unless you count pedophiles brought to justice as martyrs. And this isn't crazy wingnut America. This is actually - at last - America, the democracy in play.

Bernard Kouchner: "A man whose talent is recognized aroudn the world, recognized especially in the country that arrested him, that's not nice. This story, frankly, is a little sinister
* Oh, Monsieur! That last sentence, I almost agreed with you! This story isn't just a little sinister, it's really sinister that a rapist is so soundly defended after he drugged and forcibly shoved his dick into an unwilling 13 year old girl.
You know what's even less nice than Polanski being arrested? RAPING A 13 YEAR OLD GIRL.

*The following two "quotes" are from petitions, and the people they are "attributed" to are merely people who signed the petition, not wrote it.
Pedro Almodover: "Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision."
* Well, I'm thinking that if filmmakers feel that it should be their right to commit heinous crimes, such as raping a child, they should quit beating around the bush and just say it.

Salman Rushdie: "Apprehended like a common terrorist... Roman Polanski now sleeps in prison." "We ask the Swiss courts to free him immediately and not to turn this ingenious filmmaker into a martyr of a politico-legal imbroglio that is unworthy of two democracies like Switzerland and the United States" (Globe and Mail attributes this one to the Huffington Post).
* No, Polanski is not apprehended like a common terrorist. He is apprehended like a common criminal. Which, by the way, he is. And it is actually totally appropriate for two modern, enlightened democracies to apprehend a child molester. It's truly unfortunate that other "modern", "enlightened" democracies (*cough* France) wouldn't do the same.

Seriously, I understand that the man's a great director. I understand that he's a holocaust survivor, that he lost his wife in a traumatic way, that he's a European citizen, and he's had a very hard life and blah blah blah.
That does not excuse the act of drugging up a person and forcing your penis inside of them while they tell you NO.. Sorry. It just doesn't. Polanski deserves to go to jail for it. He's a rich white man, and a celebrity, so he's not exactly going to be dumped into jail the way any other pedophile would be. He's going to get special treatment, and a very short sentence if he even goes to prison.

So, basically, what I'm saying is GET THE FUCK OVER IT. Polanski deserves a hell of a lot worse than whatever he's going to get. He is a PEDOPHILE. Even if she wasn't still a child, he is a RAPIST. He could have accepted his sentence in the '70s, which would have undoubtedly been a comparable slap-on-the-wrist, since the world doesn't take rape seriously when it is committed by rich white men.

Oh, and really, if I run into anyone wearing a "Free Polanski" button, I'm going to ask them, straight up: "Do you support amnesty for all pedophiles, or just the ones who've won an Oscar?"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

When A Man is the Victim...

In part procrastination of my own essay-writing but also because this is important to consider and also extremely thoughtfully written, I'm directing everyone to this post about the interlockings of race and gender and other sociological factors in considering sexual violence and rape in general as well as sexual violence against men when it perpetrated by women. It is taken from Racialicious, and was originally posted at the Curvature. I can only hope to write as intellegently and accessibly about such an important issue as Cara does here:

When A Man is the Victim

I never liked that movie 40 Nights (or whatever it was called) with Josh Hartnett because it pretty much played off a rape scene between his character and his ex-girlfriend as something that was supposed to be funny, as well as something that damaged his current relationship with Shannon Sossoman's character not because he was raped by his ex, but rather because it was constitued as him cheatingon his new girlfriend. I read no reviews that brought this up even when they shot down the film, and I only had ONE conversation with someone who also saw this as rape. So I think this article is important, as it rightly points to masculinized norms of sexuality and assault in the downplaying of sexual assault (whether cross-gender or same-sex) towards men, an issue of gender, that crosses race, the normalizations of sexuality and violence and other sociological factors, that feminists and anyone concerned about social justice should think about.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hello Hello

Well, I guess this is the first post of the year over here. Been awhile...but I guess that's what's sort of appealing about blogging in the first place...picking up and leaving when and where you can...

Grad school has been a blur of emotions, tensions, egos (mostly deflating), and struggle, some good and some bad, most of them necessary, but often a bit soul-crushing...It's like finally lifting your head out of the sand to feel the world better, then desperately wanting to sink it back in only to find the sand is now glass.

I'm sure I'll feel differently once I'm distanced from the day to day experience of it, and when I look back at the people I've met, and the knowledge(s) I've both gained and problematized (hopefully, anyway) I'll think it worth it in the end (I just hope for the end to come real quicktimes). Its just hard to see clearly when you're too close, I guess.

At any rate, the point of this blog was not to indulge so much in my grad school anxiety as much as it was to send out love on International Women's Day. I've spent this weekend attending conferences, alternating between art collaborations and feminist theories of the state. I got to spend my Women's Day weekend hearing Gita Sen from DAWN speak, and put out the call for a feminist interrogation/action in regards to the financial crisis (of which so far have been few) as well as a plethora of intelligent, relevant and heartfelt discussions on welfare, compensation, and the interlocking oppressions that gender and race and class bring into this world...and here from a perspective of hope.

To Hope. Everyday.