AIDS, identity, and feminist porn: What I read this week

Fake Geek Guys: A message to men about sexual harassment

On the surface, this aims to address men involved in comics and their fandom but the points made apply to everyone, everywhere, in all industries. Essentially the message is that men need to get the fuck on board with tackling sexism and misogyny and stop kidding themselves that it’s enough to say “well, I’m not like that.”

Also, this paragraph:

“Sexual harassment isn’t an occupational hazard. It’s not a glitch in the complex matrix of modern life. It’s not something that just “happens.” It’s something men do. It’s a choice men make. It’s a problem men enable.”

 

The Identity Project

This is cool. This is a photography project by San Francisco-based freelance portrait photographer, Sarah Deragon and it aims to address the idea of identity labels when it comes to sexuality and gender.

Given the furore around the Facebook’s new ‘gender labels’, it seems clear that as a whole society is happy to label others but is still not very comfortable with the idea of people labelling themselves. Society likes to put people in boxes but the minute someone goes “well, where’s my box, eh?” it cringes away and starts whimpering about how it’s always been happy with the box it was given and it doesn’t see why people have to be so difficult.

Anyway, this is kind of a fun look at how people identify. There’s no angst here, there’s no political correctness (other than allowing people the freedom to self-identify which is the only real correctness), there are just great photographs and cool people.

Afterthought: I can’t stop trying to work out what my label would be, were I to take one. Of all the ones here, the one I like best is probably ‘queer femme sex radical’. It taps into certain aspects of how I see myself but remains reasonably open-ended. What would you go for?

 

Feminist Porn: An Introduction

Unsurprising fact of the day: Tristan Taormino has written something intelligent, accessible and enlightening about porn.

So for those of you not familiar, Tristan Taormino is a porn director but moreover (for me at least) she is a sex educator, and activist for sex-positive feminism. She is brilliant and I think there is quite a serious potential for us one day to become great friends.

Anyway, I tracked down this essay while having a Facebook conversation with a friend about feminist porn. She said she thought the phrase was contradictory and I went on a mad mission to convince her otherwise, complete with references and links to further reading.

In doing so I located this and thought I’d share it with you lot as well. I’ve been meaning to write a post on porn for ages but still haven’t found the time so you will have to make do with this (admittedly better informed) piece for now.

As a taster of what angle my forthcoming post might take, this sentence is probably quite key: “Become an informed porn consumer and do your research.”

 

Come Together – The latest safe sex ad from International HIV/AIDS alliance

Bit late to the party on this one, I’m afraid. It was actually released in early Feb but I only just came across it this week as part of some research I was doing into how HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns have changed since the discovery of the virus in the 80s.

The short answer to this is “a lot.” You only have to look at the famous tombstone ad of the mid-80s to see the difference between then and now. But actually, it’s not just AIDS awareness that has changed tack. If you look at family planning and condom ads over the years you can see that having actual sex in the advert – even just directly referring to sex – is kind of a new phenomenon. Which seems mad when you think about it.

Equally, the portrayal of sex, when it is there, has become more positive, focussing as much on pleasure and desire as on practicalities. And that’s awesome to see.

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