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Porn Star Aurora Snow Goes from Barely Legal to MILF – The Daily Beast

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

There are some massive, gaping, dirty fucking assholes in the porn industry—and no, I'm not talking about the models' bodies. I'm talking about the greedy scumbags who routinely display unwarranted sexism, ageism, and any number of other "isms" you can shake a stick at (and they do). That's why Aurora Snow's story, retold in her own words, is such a worthwhile read.

"Ten years ago, I was one of adult film’s hottest stars. Now I’m 28—and dismissed by directors as over the hill. How did I go from 'barely legal' to 'older woman' so fast?" she asks. The answer? She says "producers would read my age on paper and pigeon-hole me without even bothering to see what I looked like." But rather than cry foul, Snow is embracing new opportunities: "I have been pleased to discover that thanks to the Internet, what might be bad for the industry is good for me." Now she's studying business, being approached for mainstream roles, and wants to become a lawyer. She says porn helped her find her goals.

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CV Harquail: Separate Still Isn’t Equal: Sexism Among TED Conferences

Posted: August 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The influential TED conference recently announced a one-off event called TEDWomen after mounting criticism that the TED stage is overwhelmingly male-dominated. CV Harquail says only 17% of TED speakers are women, and calls the TEDWomen conference a display of "simplistic, outdated, and unenlightened thinking." With a separate conference for women, she says TED "demonstrates the very discrimination it is supposed to address."

Indeed, separatism can easily be viewed as segregation. According to Harquail, "Once upon a time, it made sense to create separate conferences for women. Women thinkers and activists were so marginal, so subordinated, and so far from the public platform that separate conferences were virtually the only way to create space for women to present, discuss and promote their ideas." But for TED, she says it's inappropriate.

The root issue of gender inequality of TED speakers remains, but women-only spaces can still be valuable. Can TED have the best of both worlds?

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The Work of SANGRAM: Sex Workers Claiming Their Rights | RHRealityCheck.org

Posted: July 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Work of SANGRAM: Sex Workers Claiming Their Rights | RHRealityCheck.org

We don't always know much about the people we want to help; that's why it's important that we listen to them just as much, if not more, than we talk to them. Meena Seshu, co-founder of SANGRAM, a rights-based organization that helps vulnerable groups in India to mobilize and protect themselves against HIV/AIDS, discovered this when she first spent time with sex workers. She found that when she cleared her vision from the clouding of her background, she saw a community of women who knew how to manage themselves, their families, and their clients. They didn't need to be taught anything – all they needed were the proper tools, and they could manage the epidemic as well. This experience lead to the creation of SANGRAM's bill of rights – which includes "People have the right to say YES or NO to things that concern them," and "People have the right to reject harmful social norms." A bill of rights exceptional not only for HIV/AIDS vulnerable populations, but for everyone, everywhere.

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French National Assembly approves ban on face veils – latimes.com

Posted: July 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on French National Assembly approves ban on face veils – latimes.com

In what I hope will be judged by history as one France's most idiotic moves ever, "The French lower house of Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a ban on wearing face-covering veils in a public place," Alison Culliford reports. "[T]he ban would affect only an estimated 1,900 of the millions of Muslim women in France," like Kenza Drider, an outspoken critic who said, "The government can accept my decision or not, I am not an outlaw. If I’m fined by the police, I will take it to human rights in the name of my freedom."

French politicians are calling the ban a victory for "values of freedom against all the oppressions which try to humiliate individuals." Y'know, like the freedom to choose one's own clothing. If the new ban survives a test of constitutionality, wearing a veil (a niqab) and "covering one's face in a public place will be subject to a fine of about $185 or community service."

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The First Thing Young Women Do in the Morning: Check Facebook [STUDY]

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on The First Thing Young Women Do in the Morning: Check Facebook [STUDY]

In a sampling of 1,605 women aged 18-34, 79% of them are fine with kissing in photos, 42% think it’s okay to post photos of themselves intoxicated, and 50% of women believe that it’s just fine to date people they’ve met on Facebook, compared to 65% of men. All this and more according to a recent study released by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research, Ben Parr reports for Mashable.com.

Now, I raise my eyebrows at the fact that "49% of women believe it’s fine to keep tabs on a boyfriend by having access to his accounts (42% of men think the same way)." I'm not sure if that means 42% of men feel comfortable having tabs kept on them or if they're keeping tabs on their partners, but it does bring up an obvious question: why aren't more folks simply communicating more honestly? Reassuringly, however, 89% agree that "you should never put anything on Facebook that you don’t want your parents to see." So I guess many people don't mind their parents seeing them drinking. That's pretty chill.

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More Women Without Children – Pew Research Center

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on More Women Without Children – Pew Research Center

"Nearly one-in-five American women ends her childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one-in-ten in the 1970s," according to a recent Pew Research report. Childbearing and rearing is arguably the most telling indicator of attitudes towards gender, and this report is full of interesting tidbits of that sort: "children increasingly are seen as less central to a good marriage. […] About half the public…say it makes no difference one way or the other that a growing share of women do not ever have children. Still, a notable share of Americans…say this trend is bad for society."

The authors write, "social pressure to bear children appears to have diminished for women and that today the decision to have a child is seen as an individual choice. Improved job opportunities and contraceptive methods help create alternatives for women who choose not to have children." The issue is partially classist, as white, well-educated women are still the most likely to be child-free.

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For Women, Biological Clock is an Aphrodisiac | Miller-McCune Online

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on For Women, Biological Clock is an Aphrodisiac | Miller-McCune Online

"27- to 45-year-old females 'think more about sex, have more frequent and intense sexual fantasies, are more willing to engage in sexual intercourse, and report actually engaging in sexual intercourse more frequently than women of other age groups,'" Tom Jacobs reports of yet-another-study. Psychologist Judith Easton asked 827 women to complete "a detailed online survey that included questions about their sexual desires and behaviors." The horniest respondents were dubbed RE or "reproduction expediting," an academic euphemism.

And why are they horny? Yet-another-evolutionary psychology theory: "women evolved a psychological mechanism…that motivated them to capitalize on their remaining fertility before likelihood of conception [became] less probable." But as Easton concedes, older womens' "increasing comfort with sexuality" may also account for some of their findings. Either way, a notion of men being driven by "spreading their seed" while women aren't similarly motivated is bogus.

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Korean Sociological Image #42: Sunset for the Red She Devils? | James Turnbull

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Korean Sociological Image #42: Sunset for the Red She Devils? | James Turnbull

The story begins with a single-panel cartoon, showing a white woman wearing a low-cut top, jeans and flip-flops walking in one direction on a street, and a Korean woman wearing a high-necked t-shirt, very short shorts and heels walking in the other direction. A dotted line indicates that the white woman's vision is glued to the Korean woman's legs, and a thought balloon above her head reads "Geez, could you show any MORE skink?" A similar line-of-site depiction runs from the Korean woman's eyes to the white woman's chest, but the words in her thought bubble are in Korean. James Turnbull, the author of the article tells us they transliterate to "yahada" which means "too revealing" or "too sexual." This clash between Western and Korean ideas of what makes women's clothing "too skimpy," combined with the fact that pushing the boundaries on these norms doesn't fix underlying problems of sexual and gender repression or body image, makes for another great article from SexGenderBody.

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The Anti-Lesbian Drug – Newsweek

Posted: July 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bioethicist Alice Dreger, who raised concerns of a pediatricians' female genital mutilation practice, partnered with American University philosophy professor and gay rights activist Anne Tamar-Mattis against what they call the "FIRST EXPERIMENT TO ATTEMPT PREVENTION OF HOMOSEXUALITY IN WOMB" (sic) by pediatric endocrinologist Maria New.

As Sharon Begley reports, Dreger "blew the whistle on the controversial practice of giving pregnant women dexamethasone [dex] to keep the female fetuses they are carrying from developing ambiguous genitalia." While Dreger may have made a leap, dex isn't FDA-approved, so "medical societies have signed on to a statement recommending that prenatal dexamethasone therapy…'continue to be regarded as experimental, and be pursued only' in research settings." Maria New's "aim seems to be to…make life easier for" patients. I think that could be achieved better with social acceptance of intersexuality than with drugs.

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NY Bill Allows Sex Trafficking Victims to Clear Prostitution Convictions — The Curvature

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NY Bill Allows Sex Trafficking Victims to Clear Prostitution Convictions — The Curvature

A bill amending NY State Criminal Procedure Law could let victims of sex trafficking clear their prostitution convictions. If signed into law by Gov. Paterson, the bill would be the first of its kind in the US. Although she admits it's a huge victory, Cara says, "I find the need for such legislation in the first place to be very sad. […T]he thought of women being tried in a court of law and convicted for the 'crime' of having been repeatedly raped, since that’s what non-consensual sex work is…an utterly appalling system." That's why I call it the legal system, not the justice system.

Advocates from the Sex Workers Project helped draft the bill. "[H]elping to write a piece of important and passed legislation is a major success, and one that deserves to be celebrated and applauded," Cara says. But "the Feminist Majority Foundation didn’t seem to think so." Cara outlines how a major FMF publication, Ms. Magazine, "didn’t see fit as to so much mention the Sex Workers Project’s name."

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