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Thursday, August 30, 2007

ABC shows YOU how (not) to cruise for sex

Wow secret gay sex scandals are so informative!

I'm slightly embarrassed to say that ABC and the Washington Post have schooled me on the nuances of the anonymous gay hookup.

Thanks to such enlightened articles as ABC's "Secret Signals: How Gay Men Cruise for Sex", I am FINALLY confident that I can identify the warning signs that a clandestine gay orgy is about to take place.

And, in case my spidey sense fails, no worries. Steve Sanders, a lawyer and gay rights activist quoted in the article assures me that "...citizens have a right not to confront lewd activity in public places,"

Phew! It would be really awkward having to chastise the regulars at my favorite gay bar the Hole in the Wall, as I edged my way to the unofficial "ladies room" (aka the stall just past the urinals).

In case you, like most upstanding Americans, are wondering why someone would possibly want to have mind-blowing no-strings-attached sex with a reckless stranger, the Washington Post is here to kick mad knowledge. Here's a little gem from their article "Tapping Into The Secrets Of the Stall" a quote from Lt. Alberto Jova, commander of the DC Police Department's Gay and Lesbian Liason Unit "Anonymous sex is a huge turn on for many..." Uhhh...really!

It's really too bad for Sen. Craig and Rep. Bob Allen that they got caught soliciting male cops. One can only imagine how much better they would have fared had it been female cops. I can almost see it: "Upstanding Republicans Sabotaged by Corrupt Female Dominated Police Force today on The O'Reilly Factor."

Oh well. Better luck next time!


Benefit for Clinica Martin-Baro: SUNDAY

Our wonderful R.A, Gabriela, is helping to organize a benefit for a local SF clinic that she manages.

Clinica Martin-Baro is a student-run clinic here in San Francisco that provides quality health care to day laborers and their families.

They are having a benefit this Sunday at Skylark Bar on 16th and Valencia. It starts at 8pm and features DJ's and conscientious doctors-in-training. And it's only $5 (and up).


Tucker Carlson should really be arrested

Want to be disgusted? Look at this video clip from MSNBC. Three straight white men talking about Larry Craig make Tucker Carlson think that he can be a hero. How? He was once approached by a man in a public bathroom. And how did he react? He found a friend, came back to the place, found the man, grabbed him and hit his head against the bathroom stall. And the three white straight men laugh. I am so disgusted with them.

Tucker Carlson commented on this by saying the following later.
Let me be clear about an incident I referred to on MSNBC last night: In the mid-1980s, while I was a high school student, a man physically grabbed me in a men’s room in Washington, DC. I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men’s room. The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived.

Several bloggers have characterized this is a sort of gay bashing. That’s absurd, and an insult to anybody who has fought back against an unsolicited sexual attack. I wasn’t angry with the man because he was gay. I was angry because he assaulted me.

How about that piece of hitting the man's head against the stall? Did that not happen? He should never have pleaded guilty to that one, I guess.

The story is old and too late comment on. The laughing of those three men on TV is what makes me sick. Gay men remain the outcast of society and it is perfectly ok to talk about bashing them on TV and get a laught out of them.

Steve Clemons suggests that someone should look at evidence of the arrest.

I want to say one other thing. Yesterday I challenged Debra Haffner. She couldn't be farther removed from these men if we tried in all aspects, politically, morally, ethically, you name it. So don't read this wrong. I do however see the connection between her being "squeamish" and the response of these three men. There is something about sex in public places (again, don't forget the history of the closet) that is upsetting to people. We should recognized that, and at the same time, I think it is the right of LGBT people like me, to call our allies to task. And Debra Haffner is an ally. We have to be responsible in our response, because we have to deal with three white men on MSNBC who laugh at beating gay men.

How do I know these three men are straight? I don't. And these days, you can't assume anything about those Republicans. I should watch my assumptions for sure.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

buried alive in papua new guinea

Margaret Marabe, a humanitarian worker with an HIV/AIDs prevention organization in remote highlands of Papua New Guinea, reported to the international press that she had seen women and children weakened by HIV buried alive by family members.

As increasing numbers of women and children become too sick to take care of themselves, they move in with healthy family members who lack the knowledge about how the disease is spread. As the women become weaker, relatives fear that the the 'mystery' illness will spread throughout the household making the HIV positive person a serious liability.

According to a 2007 Estimation Report on HIV in Papua New Guinea, the overall rate of infection is slowing (at 30% year!); but the report also revealed an inequitable rise in HIV prevalence in the rural compared to the urban population. As is common in many communities worldwide, rural women are bearing the brunt of the epidemic and, according to Oxfam, are at "four times greater risk of contracting it (HIV)".

Education about how the disease is spread is limited in rural areas and miseducation has proven deadly. Within the void, dangerous superstitions have emerged and HIV positive women have been accused of witchcraft and other evil doings. The Centre for Independent Studies found that "(w)omen in PNG...have reportedly been blamed for causing the disease. Mobs have attacked women believed to be witches, and tortured or murdered them."

This is just one of many harrowing reminders that the fight against HIV/AIDs is far from over. It does not mean we're losing, it just means that HIV prevention needs to adapt to globalization. It needs to follow the path of the migrant from the the traditional epicenter of the epidemic: dense urban areas and back to the country. Maybe a new and improved PEPFAR could even lead the way? It may involve a few things that have not been hallmarks of US-led public health efforts: innovation and cultural competency. But maybe we can change? Than again... the Salem Witch Trials weren't that long ago!


Craig's arrest increases sexual literacy

The arrest of Idaho senator Larry Craig has increased our knowledge of how to solicit sex in public restrooms in airports. You should read the police report that was excerpted in Roll Call:
“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.

“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”

Our own sexuality education minister, Debra Haffner, thought this was a bit too much detail.
For those of you, like me, who may be unaware of the intricacies of such male bonding rituals, read the description of the incident at Roll Call. It's not for the squeamish; in fact, I'm surprised that the editors of staid Roll Call printed it. It was a bit too much sex education even for me at this early hour.

Oh come on reverend Haffner, are you intimidated by this little bit of knowledge about gay male sex? Don't you love the fact that republicans teach us about these things? I find the irony too delicious. Of course, I am a little bit disturbed that publicly active sexuality educators like Debra Hafffner, get squeamish just when we start talking about gay sex. I have seen that before. Liberal allies can be fickle friends.

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Updates on lewd conduct arrest of sitting Idaho Senator

On Monday, Kazanit reported on the lewd conduct arrest of sitting Republican Idaho Senator Larry Craig. And oh yes, there's more.

BlogActive, run by blogger Mike Rogers, had reported that Senator Craig was a closeted homosexual in October of 2006. Craig, naturally, vigorously denied the charge at the time. But how much more evidence do we need?

Mike Rogers' sister site, Proud of Who We Are, published this statement. An excerpt is republished here:

"Larry Craig should stand up and be honest with the citizens of Idaho about who he is," said Rogers, the country's top gay activist blogger. "Tonight is a historic opportunity for Senator Craig to run for re-election as a proud gay American. What a great turning point for one of the most conservative states in the country to be represented by an openly gay Senator."

"Senator Craig's situation is exacerbated by the fact that he has a voting record that is counter to the interest of lesbian and gay Americans. All too often, closeted men like Senator Craig use their voting record to hide their truth from the American people. With this news now out in the open, I call upon Senator Craig to reevaluate his votes on issues like the Federal Marriage Amendment, Don't Ask Don't Tell, and the Defense of Marriage Act.

"The Minnesota arrest is not a one-time occurrence," Rogers added. "Last October, I reported on three other encounters that Senator Craig had with men – including one in a bathroom in Washington's Union Station. What's troubling about this is Larry Craig's hypocrisy: he repeatedly votes against the gay community during his day job, while engaging in same-sex encounters as extra curricular activity. Now is a good time for Larry Craig to join millions of other Americans and be proud of who he is."

What do you think about Mike Rogers tactics? Is it acceptable to out anti-gay politicians if they are closeted homosexuals?


mtvU to host sex ed show with dr. ruth

Great news that mtvU will be producing a program with sex therapist Dr. Ruth for this fall's programming. College students, being some of the most sexually active section of the population, need the best information they can find to keep themselves healthy and happy about their sex lives.

MTV has long been on the front lines of relaxing our dangerous moral panics about sexuality. Their resource list also shows that they recognize the importance of having accessible, truthful, science-based organizations give out advice and help. Planned Parenthood, National Sexual Assault Helpline, GLBTQ Hotline, etc. Thanks, mtvU, for standing up for sexual literacy!


China: Don't have 'gender confusion' there

Chinese media monitors have decreed that television stations must never "plan or produce sex change or plastic surgery programs involving public participation (including news, specials or interviews), effective immediately."

Thanks for the tactical lesson, China. Now, when I want to halt "vulgar" behavior, I'll issue a decree to prohibit reporting of this behavior on television. Then, people will stop being so annoyingly different.

Diversity's a bitch.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer of Fun: Sen. Larry Craig joins Bob Allen

This is getting pretty repetitive, and I should probably just use the same text as I used on Bob Allen. But here it comes:

Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) was arrested for "lewd conduct" in a public airport bathroom. Not only that, he also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Apparently just like Bob Allen, Senator Craig had the misfortune of suggesting sexual activity to an undercover policeman (yes, that's a MAN at the end of the word). Apparently the arrest happened in June and the pleading happened on August 8th, but the Roll Call (DC newspaper) reported it today.

According to AmericaBlog, Senator Craig has the following voting record:

* Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
* Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
* Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
* Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
* Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)

At least now Sen. Craig can lead a healthy life out of the closet. Yawn.

We should probably be taking bets on who will win the next "suggest-sexual-activity-to-a-policeman" lottery.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Rev. Jane Spahr: Guilty as Charged for Administering Gay Weddings

Well, another unfortunate but not unexpected ruling from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and its Synod of the Pacific - Rev. Jane Spahr was tried and found guilty for administering weddings of two lesbian couples in 2004 and 2005.

Although expected, this ruling is still unpleasant. Rev. Spahr commented on the ruling, saying, “I am deeply saddened that our church has chosen not to recognize the loving relationships of members of its own family. The church’s pervasive attitude of prejudice promotes violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”

Rev. Spahr is retired.


Week's weird sexuality news

Every week we search the net for breaking news on sexuality. While we post some of the of the news on our homepage, many marginal stories fall by the wayside. We realize that our readers might be interested in these 0ff-beat stories, so here they are.

This week's Champions of Marginal Sexuality Stories include:

Dwarf's Penis Stuck in Vacuum Cleaner
- some very strong glue to blame.

Woman Sets Ex-Husband's Penis on Fire
- vodka and forced habitation to blame.

Camel Kills Woman While Trying to Have Sex - a very large and over-eager birthday present camel to blame

Man Robs a Bookie With a Vibrator
- drug habit and awesome acting skills are at work

Mattel Sues Porn Website Over Use of Barbie Name - well, porn sells and Barbies sell - someone put them together


Thursday, August 23, 2007

NFL fouls when addressing crime against women

I just wanted to link to a really great article featured on Alternet today.

It shows a new a perspective on the Michael Vick pit bull fighting story and questions the motives of professional sports officials willingness to punish some horrific crimes while ignoring others.

Just an interesting glimpse into the world of professional sports.


Juanita Bynum practices what she preaches

Yesterday, Juanita Bynum, a popular televangelist, was physically attacked by her ex-husband, Bishop Thomas Weeks in the parking lot of a hotel.

Ms (Rev?) Bynum, a strong proponent for female empowerment, was left battered and bruised in an Atlanta-area hospital. In a brave move, she has announced that she refuses to play the victim and will file charges against her estranged husband.

While I don't agree with her sexuality politics, I do believe in women inspiring other women to better themselves. And Juanita Bynum seems to have that message down cold.



Update on Nigerian Men Arrested for Sodomy

As Chazzercise pointed out a few weeks ago, eighteen men in northern Nigeria were arrested for 'sodomy' a charge punishable by death under Sharia law. Good news is that the police were unable to find the four witnesses needed to validate the charges of sodomy. So they were forced to reduce the accusation to 'indecent dressing' (in this case cross-dressing) and 'vagrancy'.

As per local Sharia law enforcement, "any (male) person who dresses...in the fashion of a woman in a public place...will be liable to a term of one year or 30 lashes"

Five of the eighteen men were able to make bail under these new charges, but the remaining thirteen men still sit and await their fate in a Bauchi jail. Upon the announcement that five of the men were to be released, some local young men expressed outrage by throwing rocks at the courthouse. There is no news on whether or not these men are in a safe place now.

As the BBC reports, more than a dozen Nigerian Muslims have been sentenced to death by stoning for a variety of sexual offenses including sodomy. However, no one has actually been condemned to such a horrible fate. This is due in a large part to pressure from Nigerian and International human rights groups.

In these types of situations it's always best to take the lead from local community groups on the ground. We'll try to keep you updated about ways to support Nigerian human rights groups. And, please let us know if you hear of any action to take.


Wait... you don't stop having sex when you get old?

It seems fitting that aging and sexuality would be an appropriate topic for our 300th post. We're glad to have you with us in our golden years.

The New England Journal of Medicine (link to full article on NEJM website) recently published a study showing that sexagenarians and even septuagenarians are having sex at least twice a month. Excuse while I say... DUH! With health care keeping people healthier longer, it would seem to be a given that this would lead to longer sexual lives.

This is one of those taboos, however, that our youth obsessed culture would rather not talk about -- older people having sex lives. I'm going to venture a guess that the Digg, Reddit, and general blogosphere discussion about this study will include lots of comments like "Grossssss!", "Grandma, noooooo!", and "Wrinkles are nasty." I'd love to be proven wrong...

For what it matters, I'm glad that Mom and Dad / Grandma and Grandpa are doing it if it makes them happy. Sexual literacy really is for all stages of life.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Amnesty International Stands Up to Catholic Church

In a move decried by the Roman Catholic Church and applauded by proponents of women and human rights, Amnesty international announced it’s decision to ditch a position of neutrality towards abortion. Instead, the international council has decided to actively campaign for a women’s right to an abortion in cases of rape, incest, violence and when a mother’s health is at risk.

Kudos to Amnesty for standing up for what they know is right for women.

Read more about the new policy at Amnesty’s Stop Violence Against Women site.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

The "Dr Ruth" of the muslim world

Her name is Dr. Heba Kotb. She's made quite a splash in American media in the past six months: ABCNews Nightline, Salon, and CNN have all put out stories on her groundbreaking work. She hosts a weekly television program broadcast throughout the Arab world, though it's unclear how far her reach really is.

Regardless, she's doing something to open up a generally closed society when it comes to issues of sexuality. Best of all, her summary of what she believes on her website sounds a whole lot like sexual literacy! It's excerpted here:

There are three basic elements for better sexual life and health:

  1. A capacity to enjoy and control sexual behavior in accordance with a social and personal ethic
  2. Freedom from fear, shame, guilt, false beliefs, and other psychological factors inhibiting sexual response and impairing sexual relationships
  3. Freedom from organic disorders, diseases, and deficiencies that interfere with sexual functions
You go girl!


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Religious allies

With all the talk of the evangelical right and their followers hating on gays, reproductive rights, comprehensive sex-education, and pleasure, we can sometimes forget that we have religious allies in the fight for sexual literacy. Two articles this weekend that make this case:

  1. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America took steps to reduce the power of its bishops to discipline clergy based on their sexual preference. It's a great first step for the denomination.
  2. The Reform Movement of Judaism just endorsed a new blessing for transgendered Reform Jews making the transition. The Reform Movement already ordains gay and lesbian Rabbis.
It's always refreshing to hear the good news. Any other good news from the last few months that should be published here?


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Did Jenna and Harry abstain?

Jenna Bush (25) and Harry Hager (29) are ready to tie the knot, announcing their engagement today after a 2 year relationship.

The question is: did they abstain? Did the little daughter follow her dad's advise of no lovin' before the weddin'? I have a hard time believing that. (This post seems to think that Jenna is pregnant already.) More importantly, did her daddy and mommy talk to her about "it"?

Also, did Jenna have a choice or was she somewhat limited to sons of republican governors and white house staffers?

In any case, best of luck to them two and welcome Harry Bush ... oops... Jenna Hager.

The rest goes here.


Testicular Self-Exam: UK Jocks Exam Their Goolies in the Locker Room

British blokes shower, shed their inhibitions, and learn how to test themselves for testicular cancer. Try it out for yourself - you could save your life.

Learn more about testicular cancer:

National Cancer Institute

Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

zero gravity: not the best eye cream

Forget all the easy cliches that come to mind upon hearing about Buzz Aldrin's recent foray into Joan Rivers territory, ("Gravity finally took its toll on the second man on the moon," "Beam my face up, Scotty." And thus my self-indulgence has been served...) The fact that a 77 year old married man (Aldrin has been happily hitched since 1988) felt the need to "rejuvenate" himself is somewhat telling of our current obsession with youth and the upkeep necessary to achieve it.

Once the sole providence of trophy wives stalling their husbands from running off with the next, best young thang, face lifts have (finally?) entered the male domain. The older male domain. You got to wonder why a man who's lived through the Korean war, is one of the world's premier rocket scientists, and - lest I mention - has taking a stroll on the moon, feels the need to lift his face up by the temples. I mean, I doubt his wife was about to leave him over some crows feet. But if she was, damn, I'd love to meet her.



In another sad attempt to capitalize on Google trends, we decided to post something about dontdatehimgirl.com, today's "on fire" trend.

Apparently what has made the site so popular is Mr. Bill O'Reilly's August 7th declaration of this site as a 'hate website'.

As you can see, dontdatehimgirl's hate-filled mission statement says it all:
DDHG is a social networking site where women from around the world can share their dating experiences with each other. Share your story of inspiration, hope and determination with other women around the world. Learn about how you can date safer and smarter, build your self-esteem, find true love and empower yourself to become the powerful woman you really are! You are worth it. You deserve to be happy and you deserve to be in a loving relationship! Find the tools you need on www.DontDateHimGirl.com!

Sure sounds like a bunch of spiteful little b*tches to me!

One can only wonder if a nasty post by former employee Andrea Mackris hating on men who confuse loofah's and falafel, sparked O'Reillys ire.

Oh and to all the men out there who feel victimized, feel free to consult the good samaritans at: www.classaction-dontdatehimgirl.com/

The brains behind this operation are making it their (legal) bu$iness to protect men from slander and degradation a vital component to protecting family values!

Giving women the ability to gossip about bad boyfriends online can only mean we're one step closer to the collapse of civilization as we know it.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Nigerian Men Arrested for Sodomy and Face Possible Death Sentence

BBC News reports that eighteen men have been arrested and held in Nigeria on sodomy charges. The men reportedly were at a hotel in Bauchi town to celebrate a "gay wedding" and were wearing women's clothes.

Bauchi State is governed by Islamic sharia law, which authorizes death by stoning as the punishment for sexual offenses such as sodomy and adultery. More than a dozen individuals have received death sentences for sexual offenses in recent years. Pressure from human rights groups has prevented these sentences from being carried out - some being thrown out on appeal and others reduced to prison sentences.

Local human rights networks in Nigeria are currently investigating the situation to obtain further information on exactly what happened and the profiles of the men arrested. We will post an update based on this investigation in the few days, including any solidarity actions recommended by Nigerian activists.

To learn more about sexuality in Africa, visit the African Sexuality Resource Centre website.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

2008: Is your candidate hot? Or not?

The weekend before last, the LA Times published Robin Abcarian's worthwhile analysis about sex appeal in the 2008 Presidential race.

My conclusion following critical analysis: Republican Presidential candidates depend on young (trophy?) wives to stay hot. Republicans like their first ladies to look like Hollywood models and are more likely to accept marriages with large age differences (we'll see if this is borne out in the primaries). Democrats are most likely to dig pretty candidates and are less comfortable sexualizing a first lady candidate. Dems also have trouble moving beyond their past candidates' transgressions and awkwardness. Read on before correcting me in the comments.

For the sake of argument, let's assume all of these three examples of Republican sexiness are intentional. Probably the case anyway -- these are presidential campaigns we're talking about.

  • Rudy Guliani posing with his third wife Judith Nathan Giuliani in Harper's Bazaar with intentional passion.
  • Cindy McCain, John McCain's first and only wife, giving a tour of the McCain home to FoxNews. Now that's way more than Clinton cleavage!

  • Fred Thompson's second wife, Jeri Kehn Thompson, unafraid to show off what's she's got.

Some Democratic candidates were mentioned for their young wives, as well. But no one with a real shot at the nomination, so I'm leaving them out of this analysis. I had no idea about Kucinich! An excerpt:

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, a Democratic hopeful, is 18 years older than his wife, Jackie. The prize for greatest age gap, however, goes to Democratic contender Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, who is 31 years older than his 29-year-old wife, Elizabeth.

For the Democratic frontrunners, Abcarian couldn't muster much of anything that didn't involve Lewinsky for Hillary Clinton. Obama got his fair share of ink and was crowned, if not explicitly, the sexiest of the candidates. But John Edwards was not even mentioned! And he's probably the 'prettiest' of all the candidates, but for some reasons he was off limits for this story. Maybe it has something to do with the Elizabeth Edwards cancer factor? It goes to show that sex appeal doesn't immediately follow from good looks.

Abcarian unfortunately spent more time on past Democratic candidates sex appeal than current ones, like the Clinton Lewinsky scandal and Al Gore's major league smooch of Tipper as he accepted the Democratic nomination for president. If she wants to go there, it might have been worthwhile to include the current President and his first lady in this analysis. Thoughts?


Friday, August 10, 2007

Visible Vote '08; proving gay debates are just as boring as straight ones

In anticipation of the LGBT democratic forum, The Wall Street Journal ran an article asking if the "gay dollar" would have any clout in the 'o8 election...and we got the answer last night! Ummm, not really...

As predicted, front runners Obama and Hillary came out in opposition of gay marriage (although both support civil unions).

I am happy to report that Dennis Kucinich, everyone's favorite vegan pot-smoking gnome fully endorses same-sex marriage. Well, let's just add LGBT-friendly on to the end of that descriptor.

Here's some highlights from Edwards and Obama. Enjoy!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Visible vote '08: democrats debate LGBT issues

Tonight, the Human Rights Campaign and Logo Network bring us the first ever Democractic presidential forum on LGBT issues hosted by Melissa Etheridge and HRC Pres. Joe Solmonese.

Logo and the Advocate will go head to head live blogging the event from 9-11pm EST (that's 6pm on the West Coast).

And in case you miss it, check back here tomorrow for our 'best of' recap and a chance to win your own Melissa Etheridge commerative fanny pack.


Sex and Tech Conference

For more information please see the official conference website.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

anorexics turn to myspace and facebook for inspiration

Myspace and Facebook are getting alot of heat lately. The teen-focused social networking sites have been under fire for catering to pedophiles, allowing cyber-bullying and eating peoples babies.

Now add promoting anorexia to the list of these offenses.

According to the BBC, Myspace currently has a 1,000 member strong group called "Pro Ana Nation". No, this is not a group of teenage underlings dedicated to making me Mistress of the Universe! Instead, It is something much more insidious, a support network of adolescent girls trying to get and stay skinny through 'extreme dieting'.

That these pro-anorexia groups thrive on Myspace and Facebook, is not a big surprise. Universally, I think that teenagers all crave inclusion and acceptance and a social network site is the ideal place to find this. This can create a very harmful environment but, as with any phenomenon, you have to take the good with the bad. These sites are also great places to find support groups for people with eating disorders as well as tips for recovery.

The compulsive desire to be skinny is nothing new. Thinness has been coveted in our society for decades. It's not for the male gaze. Most straight men I know prefer a woman with a little 'cushion for the pushin'. I can only guess that it is a compulsive desire to show control over some facet of one's life. For many girls in the throes of hormones, social pressures and growing pains, one's body may be the only thing they feel they can control. Thus anorexia transcends the purely physical to become a psychological disorder.

This is why I'm really skeptical about the scapegoating of places like MySpace when it comes to problems like this. As far as I know this whole 'Friends of Ana' 'Friends of Mia' (for bulimia) thing pre-dates Myspace groups and eating disorders have been rearing their ugly heads ever since the creation of suburban middle schools.

I think we need to focus on how we can use these sites to show support for people trying to overcome anorexia and bulimia. How can we mine the groups like "Pro Ana Nation" and cultivate the resistance? How can we arm young women and men with resources and tactics to encourage their friends to get help through Myspace and Facebook? Why fight the technology instead of the issue?

Oh and NEWSFLASH. If we're so worried about promoting eating disorders in young girls, why don't we stop putting the likes of Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton on the cover of teen magazines? By normalizing the emaciatied "cocaine chic" look these girls sport we are telling these girls that skinny is in. Than we turn around and chastise them for wanting to be trendy.

But hey, I understand, it's really all Myspace's fault.
Just where is this generation's Sassy?


Hello Punishement

Yasushi Ukigaya/Kyodo News, via Associated Press

A police officer in Bangkok shows a pink Hello Kitty armband.

In response to police officers violating petty laws, like littering or parking in a handicap zone, pink Hello Kitty arm bans are being tossed out as punishment. No doubt a novel form of humiliation, the arm bands are thought to make male officers feel stupid as the cute Sanrio kitty cat is more the provenance of young girls than big, burly "men" in uniform.

Not one to draw unfounded conclusions or anything, but doesn't it kinda seems like Bangkok city and government officials are...I don't know...um... sexist?


Monday, August 06, 2007

Rep. Bob Allen asks: Are gays the new blacks?

I would urge Florida Rep. Bob Allen to consider hiring a PR Firm.

As some of you may recall, earlier this summer, Bob Allen was arrested in a men’s restroom on solicitation charges after offering to pay $20 to perform oral sex on a stranger. Unluckily for Allen, he ran across one of what I would judge to be a small handful of men who would pass up receiving a blow job AND $20 cash from a random stranger. What made it worse, was that this free blow job passer-upper was an undercover cop (figures!)

In the aftermath, Allen has gotten pretty creative. Instead of blaming addiction, everyone’s favorite copout of 2007, he has claimed that a “large stocky black man” drove him to it. Did I mention that this “large stocky black man” was an undercover police officer? Apparently, Allen’s natural defense method when intimidated by African American men in a restroom is to open his mouth AND his wallet. I don’t think MacGuyver would have handled it that way, but hey, to each his own.

So, I guess the question is what scares Americans more? Gay sex or Black men?

The Family Guy would say the former but I that Rep. Allen, is hoping for the later.


Friday, August 03, 2007

men are from mars, women are from venus, redux

Good thing he didn't ask for a wax!


Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar: 17 and counting

This blog post has been moved to a new location: http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/dialogues/users/rvaleev/blog/jim-bob-michelle-duggar-17-counting

Read more of our blogs at http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/dialogues/communicate


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Evangelicals to fight porn and save souls through Second Life

I saw this article earlier this week but haven't had the chance to properly say... WHAT WHAT?

Antonio Spadaro, writing an article in the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, said that Second Life, an online simulation game with 8 million viewers; is a ‘mission territory’ to find new converts and should be considered an opportunity for the Church, reported Reuters.

"Deep down, the digital world can be considered, in its way, mission territory," he said...

Despite the enormous opportunities opened up by the digital world to bring people to Christ, the biggest danger on the web that is frequently identified by Christians is pornography with its most vulnerable victims being young men.

Second Life has long been an outlet for sexuality that may or may not be expressed in real life. And since Second Life has offered many users a risk and commitment-free environment with which to try out different fetishes and sexual identities, it makes sense that there would be an explosion of diversity in sexual expression. It's also not surprising that evangelicals would want to try to save some souls.

And that's totally cool with me, as long as they aren't using false information to proselytize and are open to letting users go if they say no. The presence of evangelicals could enhance the debate and conversation on Second Life and elsewhere. It's also possible that conducting the porn debate through computers would make the conversation more honest and productive than it would be in the confession booth.