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  • Susie Bright's Blog

    Here's a blog that gets me where I live...Much food for thought on a regular basis!

    -Susie Bright

  • In the debauched world of INDIEROTICA, the thin bra-strap of a line between the seductive and the obscene is torn, stripped, and ripped off so often that one can have difficulty differentiating between the exploitative and truly erotic. Here to help us connect the dots is the brilliant and sexy REBECCA, author of the clever blog, PORN PERSPECTIVES. "Examining the interplay between pornography, feminism, economics, and technology", it's possibly the smartest sex on the internet.

    -Jess, INDIEROTICA.com

Sexy Genius Consortium

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A little gift for the ladies

In this waning economy, manufacturers of superfluous beauty products must be nervous. As a consumer afraid of layoffs, are you more likely to go for the $2.00 pack of 50 Bic razors, or the $20 single razor variety--with replacement blades running $10 for a pack of four?

Luckily for us, beauty companies have come up with a solution that benefits everyone: $20 razors that vibrate and now the latest incarnation: $30 vibrating mascara wands.


...getting excited?


Outrage has flown at this obscene level of consumerism, but as I said before, everyone wins here. Suffering beauty companies can justify charging a threefold premium on their products, and women are offered a discrete way to (ahem) alleviate any anxiety caused by the recession, not to mention anxiety over the fact that they just bought a $30 sex toy which also makes their eyes look smoldering and sexy.

And because I can't help but throw politics into the mix, I have to note that I am heartened to see sex toys (even disguised sex toys) become accessible to the masses. Sixteen year-old girls in small Midwest towns don't have access to Good Vibrations or Babeland, and mail order isn't always an option. If Wal-Mart doesn't stock it, then they ain't getting it and they ain't getting off.

The same concept applies to couples. As a parenthetical, I have to talk briefly about the KY product Yours+Mine, a product I saw advertised while researching this post. I highly recommend clicking here to visit the product website. This lube looks magical! The concept is simple: There are two tubes--one for "him" and one for "her" (as though the primary market for this isn't closeted gay dudes)--each supposedly producing a different sensation. Then when you Do It, you get to feel your partner's sensation. It's simple, but with clever advertising, KY has made a  taboo product unbelievably appealing. And the best part is that even stick-up-its-ass Wal-Mart will stock it.

Living in a major city where liberalism reigns, it is easy to forget that most people don't have access to sexual aides nor to permissive sexual culture. The Internet notwithstanding, open sexuality is less culturally available outside big cities. So accessibility to sexual products through mainstream channels is crucial. If you need further evidence, this Amazon.com customer review from Texas beautifully illustrates my point:

"Me and my fiance decided to try this after seeing the commerical so many times, we went to wal-mart and they were sold out, so we drove to the walmart in the next town and they were sold out too. ..[T}hen we went to CVS, they didn't have any out so we thought we were fixing to go home empty handed, we asked the cashier as we were checking out about what we really wanted and they had some upstairs. They never got to unpack it because everyone kept comeing in and asking for it, they had two left and we bought both of them.

It was worth all the work to get it. This is by far the best lubricant we have ever used... [sic]"

So I say God bless vibrating razors, vibrating makeup, and fancy KY lube. Everyone deserves to have great sex.

Women are so gay

I have pondered before the not-so-straight sexuality of heterosexual women. A recent study covered in the Times provides further evidence that unlike men, women are not at all straightforward in their sexual responses.

Specifically, this study found that when shown photos of naked people, heterosexual women's biological sexual response was stronger in response to the image of the female. Photos of naked men were about as exciting as a landscape photo.

There are numerous conclusions to  draw from this data--perhaps women are "naturally" bisexual; maybe men's bodies are not the site of sexual attraction for women; perhaps the constant objectification of women has caused straight women to sexualize each other's bodies. I really don't know what to make of it. At the very least, it 's nice to know that women's sexuality is broad enough to appreciate non-hetero images

Other theories?

When porn addiction is really just a bad relationship

"He's addicted to porn!" is fast becoming the latest relationship scapegoat. Wit Fox News columnist Yvonne Fulbright's article guiding women towards this false conclusion (via Jezebel). While porn certainly has its faults, being the universal cause of bad relationships is not one of them.

Here's Fulbright's list of clues your partner has a porn addiction:

  1. Your partner is not as social as he used to be.
  2. Your partner lacks interest in sex or is sexually unresponsive.
  3. Your partner is being uncharacteristically demanding or rough during sex.
  4. Your partner does not seem “present.”
  5. Your partner has started to nit-pick your appearance.
  6. You feel like you’re no longer getting straight answers from your lover.
  7. Your partner is practically wed to the Internet.
  8. You’ve noticed a change in your partner’s demeanor.

Well Jesus, who doesn't have a porn addiction? I have no doubt that I myself have fit the criteria in nearly all of my relationships.

Her advice is not only wrong, it's actively destructive, since bringing accusations about porn into the midst of a deteriorating relationship is only going to make things worse. So moral of the story is don't scapegoat porn--it's rarely the cause of your problems. Your bad relationship with an ill-suited partner is more likely the culprit.

On my mission statement

Discerning readers may notice a change in my banner caption. The word “feminism” has been removed, replaced with “social theory.” While flag-waving feminists may gasp in horror at my betrayal, I believe that it is actually both a large and at the same time insignificant change. 

Obviously, my principles have not changed. I still believe that men and women are equal and should be treated as such. The issue is the label applied to this belief. “Feminism”, as the platitude goes, has become a dirty word. Many would-be Feminists don’t want to associate themselves with the word, since many who have vigilantly claimed the word advocate extreme or disagreeable views.

Ideally, through reclaiming the word and de-politicizing it (distancing it from extreme views), we would be able to integrate it non-controversially into cultural discourse. Because really, who actively disagrees with the idea that men and women should be treated as equals? If this is the definition of feminism, then aside from misogynists, aren’t we all basically feminists?

Yet the word hasn’t yet made the jump. It still is associated with bra-burning, man-hating, big shoulder pads, and hairy legs. So while it may be a nice fantasy for me to incorporate the word into my writing under the illusion that my apolitical definition is universal, I have to face reality. Since people still associate the word with the various unpredictable strains of feminism they happened to have encountered, by applying the label I’m unwittingly associating myself with views to which I object.

So in a sense I’m backing down, but at the same time I’m better achieving my objectives with this terminology change. If my ultimate goal is to spread my ideas to a wide readership, it does not serve my interests to turn off a portion of this audience at the outset—I’m sure I’m perfectly capable of turning them off with my ideas.

The pro-woman principles will still hold in my writing, but instead of confining them to the label “feminism”, I’m opening them up to greater society with the label “social theory.” Shifting from terminology-forward to concept-forward writing should ultimately better serve my feminist objectives. The idea is what’s important, not the name of the idea.