Alleged
Sex and the 405
May 21, 2013
The Once-Forbidden Fruits of Eden

The names Adam and Eve conjure all manner of Judeo-Christian imagery, none of which particularly arousing — with the exception, perhaps, of the idea popularized by Augustine of the apple as a metaphor for sex. It’s somewhat surprising, then, that Adam & Eve should be one of the largest names in porn and sex toys. The story starts in 1971, when Phil Harvey joined up with the physician Tim Black after returning from a trip to India, where he realized how important family planning is, especially in developing nations. Together, they founded Adam & Eve, a mail-order catalog that enabled the public to acquire contraceptives without a doctor. Their long-term goal was that the venture would enable them to fund family-planning programs in developing nations.

In doing this, Harvey and Black took a stand against the increasingly weakened Comstock laws, which made it illegal to send anything deemed “obscene” in the mail — including contraceptive devices and information. In 1986, thirty-some armed agents raided Adam & Eve’s offices in North Carolina, and Harvey spent the next six years defending himself against the ensuing obscenity charges — a battle he finally won in 1992.

The chance Harvey and Black took paid off despite the troubles along the way and today the company is a major studio and distributor of sex toys. Continuing our tour of the world’s sex toys, we got in touch to talk about what’s flying off their digital shelves. This is what we learned:

The ultimate best-seller is the Wet Wabbit Vibrator ($49.95) — a waterproof upgrade to the Rabbit, which was popularized by the 90s HBO show Sex and the City. The Wet wabbit is followed closely (in fourth place) by the Wild G-Spot Vibrator ($69.95), a biomorphic redesign of the rabbit concept, specifically made to raget the G-spot while stimulating the clitoris.

The second hottest item is a couple’s toy, the Adam & Eve Couple’s Enhancer Ring ($29.95), a dual ring set-up for both the cock and balls for longer, harder erections that includes a raised knob with a bullet to stimulate a partner’s clitoris during penetration. Another great couple’s find is Pirates ($19.95), one of the best-selling adult films of our time.

Third up is the Adam & Eve Easy Anal lube ($9.95), a lubricating formula that employs the often-used local anesthetic benzocaine (7.5 percent) to reduce pain. Also in the realm of anal sex is the Crystal Jellies Anal Starter ($12.95), which at number six, a five-inch insertable, one-inch wide dildo to explore anal stimulation.

In the realm of best-sellers for men, you have the A&E Beginner’s Power Pump ($19.95), which uses suction to stimulate blood flow into the penis as the fifth best-selling item in the store. The Super Head Honcho Masturbator ($27.95), a six-inch, open-ended masturbating sleeve that makes clean-up a breeze, ranks seventh. At position number eleven is the Adam & Eve Delay Spray ($9.95), a 7.5 percent lidocaine (another local anesthetic) solution that can be sprayed to delay ejaculation.

At number eight, you have the Hitachi-like Adam & Eve Magic Massager ($54.95), which plugs into the wall for a session as long as you need it to go. In tenth place is the Blue Dolphin Vibrator ($19.95), a ribbed, six inch-long waterproof vibrator. Last but not least is the A&E Blue Swirl Glass 4-Way ‘G’ ($34.95), a testament to the rising popularity of glass in the realm of sex toys. And why not? Glass is non-porous and you can heat it up or chill it for a variety of different sensations.

But the best of the top sellers has to be the Clone-A-Willy Kit ($44.95), a do-it-yourself way to immortalize that boner so very near and dear to your heart.

Surprisingly, given how the company started, there weren’t any condoms among the top ten best-sellers. But then, it’s been 27 years since the raid of 1986 and over 40 since the first catalog was mailed. A company has to learn to evolve with the times.

“We were all struck by how much and how little things have changed,” reads the Adam & Eve site commemorating its history. “The lingerie models have much better hair today, and sex toys don’t look like ugly blobs of plastic anymore. We even noticed a few products that we still sell today; they just cost more because of inflation.”

Header image by Ashley Webb.



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February 3, 2013
Advertising Fails Sex During Superbowl (Again)

GoDaddy superbowl ad kiss

You would think that given how much advertising seems to depend on sex to sell things that it would be in the industry’s interest to try to get sex right, or at least be sensitive to sex-related issues that have powerfully impacted the national consciousness. Is the inability to create ads that portray sex and desire decently the result of an industry in dire need of fresh blood, or is it that advertisers are showing an increased interest in exploiting hot topics to get more “engagement” out of their ads? We have no answers for you, but we do have a collection of Superbowl ads that really, really annoyed us.

You Can’t Be Smart And Pretty At Once

Here’s a stereotype we want to see die an immediate death: that smart people can’t be pretty and pretty people can’t be smart. That’s essentially what GoDaddy tells us when Danica Patrick introduces us to model Bar Refaeli and a glasses-wearing, blotchy genius who appears to be half her height and three times her weight. To prove how well sexy and genius get along, GoDaddy treats us to an awkward kiss between the two which is complete devoid of sexual tension, passion or appeal. In fact, it’s gross. It goes out of its way to be gross.

This really isn’t the “yay, nerds get to have some love too!” moment we’ve been waiting for. This is a reminder that if you’re a nerd, you’re Other, unpretty and so painfully awkward that you couldn’t properly kiss the person of your dreams even if GoDaddy handed him or her to you.

As far as women in STEM go, this ad perpetuates the idea that being attractive trivializes your work and your worth to the scientific community.

This ad really needs to go die a painful and slow death.

Sexual Harassment Is Funny If A Girl Does It

This commercial from Best Buy features Saturday Night Live‘s Amy Poehler being her funny self. Except it’s not really that funny. It’s one thing to joke about a “dongle” but there is nothing funny about the awkward, uncomfortable look of disbelief on the young Best Buy employee’s face when Poehler asks whether he might read an erotic book in a sexy voice to her. This is what sexual harassment looks like. If you can’t see it, think about an older man delivering the same line to a twenty-something girl in that Best Buy uniform. See it now?

Putting the sexy into situations where someone has power over someone else (in this case, “the customer is always right” is a power, especially over a low-level employee) is dangerous because it runs the risk of implying coercion. And that just kills the sexy before it can even take its first breath. Avoid it ad people. It’s not sexy. It’s not clever. It’s just awkward.

Bravery And Assault Aren’t That Different

Poor kid doesn’t have a date to prom. But he has daddy’s Audi and it’s such a cool ride that he’s going to march into the gym and kiss the prom queen like he’s da man.

Here’s problem with this: it’s not okay to kiss or grab or do anything with people who don’t want to do it with you. It’s not. Now, we’re not saying you should ask permission when you’re dropping off your date before you kiss her. But there is being aware of nonverbal cues — that joyous pause at the door, the meeting of the eyes! — and then there’s walking up to someone and just kissing them.

We get no indication that the prom queen knows this fellow or wants this until the end of the ad when she is shown staring dreamily into space. But this is after the kiss and after her boyfriend pounds the kid who kissed her. Basically, the kid ignores whether she wants it or not because he wants it and he has an Audi so he gets to have it, damn it, and then the prom king boyfriend ignores that the prom queen liked it because she’s his, damn it, and he’s going to defend his turf.

If this is brave … we’re never leaving our apartments.



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January 29, 2013
Instagram Shoots Self in the Other Foot

Instagram requires ID from users

Instagram has been “securing” (suspending) accounts, giving users a deadline to upload a form of valid identification. Many initially suspected this was a phishing scam, but a Facebook spokesperson told CNET, “Instagram occasionally removes accounts due to violation of terms and, depending on the violation, may ask people to upload IDs for verification purposes.”

Their terms, recently revised, state users must be over thirteen to use the service, but it is unclear whether the recent “securing” spree is targeting only users who appear to be under 13. The only thing that is certain is that Facebook is providing users no further assistance in this matter.

This is another failure on Facebook’s part to handle issues within the photo-sharing site in a way that helps users feel secure. The previous one happened late last year when Instagram changed its terms to allow the service to employ user photos and likenesses in advertising without compensation to creators.

Less than a month later, Instagram changed the terms back after heavy backlash from users, but the damage was done: according to AppStats, the number of daily active users between December and January fell from 16.35 million to 7.41 million. Daily active users continue to decline. It doesn’t make sense to users to invest in a community that may be taken away from them at any moment.

We took a closer look at their terms and found that Instagram clearly states that users must not post nude, “partially nude,” or “sexually suggestive” photos or other “content.” What does this mean? No idea. But we know that Facebook historically hasn’t hesitated to pull down content it considers “risque” — including images of known works of art.

We have grown tired of playing this game with Facebook, and social networks in general. Nudity needs a place to live among consenting adults, a place that won’t expose them to the cruelty of a sex-negative culture by demanding they use their real names. Google+ hasn’t stepped up to meet the need — or done anything to clarify their policies on adult content.

We need somewhere to go. But where?



Posted by Staff at 4:22 AM - Permalink  |  E-Mail  |  Print  |  I Like

January 14, 2013
Save The Pubic Lice! Or, Adventures In Lousy Reporting

Brazilians are killing crabs and genital lice?

Well, if anyone ever wondered why scientists hate to speak to people in the media, now we know for sure.

Yesterday, Bloomberg ran a piece about pubic lice titled “Brazilian Bikini Waxes Make Crab Lice Endangered Species” that might have been brilliant (because: pubes!) except it wasn’t. Not even a little bit.

The article starts by saying crabs are disappearing, a fact its authors never get around to corroborating. They provide interesting data about one Australian clinic that hasn’t seen a case of pubic lice since 2008 but get data from no other clinics. Later they note that crabs can be self-treated with insecticide yet fail to provide further information — did legislation make insecticide available to the public after 2008 in Australia? Was a more effective type of insecticide introduced? A change in the form of application? Have sales figures among the major insecticide brands suffered in the country since waxing started to take off?

No, none of that. But why are we thinking about journalism right now? Have we no heart? CRABS ARE DYING OUT AND DOCTORS SAY THAT BIKINI WAXES ARE THE REASON.

Specifically, Brazilians, the type of waxing that removes all the hair in the pubic area. No doctor quoted in the piece said that the cause of lice demise was Brazilians. Basil Donovan, a physician at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre (the clinic that hadn’t seen a louse in years) said it was “better grooming.” The closest expert to make any such statement, perhaps, was Ian F. Burgess, a British entomologist, who pointed a finger at pubic grooming and “other aspects of body hair depilation.”

The Brazilian link appears toward the end of the article, where its authors cite a letter in the journal Sexually Tranmitted Infections written in 2006 that suggests there may exist a correlation between decrease of body lice and increasing popularity of genital waxing among patients at the General Infirmary in Leeds, England. But, as we know, correlation does not equal causation. The authors of the letter are still looking over data and won’t be presenting their findings until May (at which time you may expect more articles about the demise of the pubic louse). What to one is a springboard for more research is pure linkbait to others.

As mentioned earlier, the authors of the article never got around to giving us factual information relating to the status of the pubic louse. They do concede: “Incidence data aren’t kept by the World Health Organization in Geneva because the gray, six-legged, millimeter-long louse doesn’t transmit disease, and national authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and U.K.’s Health Protection Agency don’t collect the information.” So, really, no one knows if lice are truly becoming extinct at all.

“It makes sense from the point of the view of the biology of the beast, but how you’d ever find out, I don’t know,” Richard Russell, the director of medical entomology at Sydney's Westmead Hospital, told Bloomberg reporters, fulfilling the role of careful science-type person every reporter needs to close a sensationalist article so they can still sleep at night.

At least Bloomberg tried to cover their bases. The Daily Mail had “Add this to the list of ever growing reasons to praise the bikini wax — it may have made pubic lice an endangered species.” Rawstory had “The pubic lice may have met a predator it can’t overcome: the Brazilian bikini wax.” And Gizmodo “According to doctors, public lice or crabs or whatever the hell that makes people scratch down there is disappearing because everybody is getting Brazilian waxes.” Everyone grab the quotes from the scientists in the original piece and take them out of context to support! Ready, set, go!

Okay, enough righteous indignation for you. Go read this for a lol.

Header image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



Posted by Staff at 10:05 PM - Permalink  |  E-Mail  |  Print  |  I Like

October 10, 2012
Has The Village Voice Given Up Sex?

no sex in the newsroom at Voice Media Group?

When Village Voice Media agreed to sell its 13 alternative weeklies - among them New York's Village Voice and Los Angeles' LA Weekly — at the end of last month, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to LA Observed treated it like your typical media acquisition when it was anything but your typical media acquisition.

The most cursory glance at the press release issued by the buyer, Voice Media Group (not to be confused with Village Voice Media Holdings), reveals that this is not so much a purchase as it is a strategic separation of assets. The newly formed Denver-based Voice Media Group is entirely comprised of former Village Voice Media Holdings executives. In short, what is happening is the weeklies are moving over to a new name and leaving Village Voice Media Holdings' Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin with the problematic cash cow Backpage.com, a classifieds site which made an estimated $28.9 million last year, and which has faced intense criticism and legal action for its refusal to discontinue running adult services ads.

The new owners of the weeklies (which are: Village Voice, LA Weekly, SF Weekly, OC Weekly, Seattle Weekly, Houston Press, Dallas Observer, Denver's Westword, Phoenix's New Times, St. Louis' Riverfront Times, Miami's New Times, Minneapolis' City Pages, Broward's New Times) are Scott Tobias, formerly Village Voice Media's chief operating officer and now chief executive officer of Voice Media Group; Christine Brennan, formerly executive managing editor at Village Voice Media and now executive editor at Voice Media Group; and Jeff Mars, formerly vice president of financial operations at Village Voice Media and now chief financial officer at Voice Media Group.

"Backpage.com has been a distraction, there is no question," Scott Tobias told the Wall Street Journal. "It's just not about what we do."

That's the thing, Backpage.com -named for the backpage of the original weekly that held its classifieds, which even then included sex ads - was once very much part of what the 1955-founded Village Voice did. The move away from Backpage.com isn't just a business move, but a conscious decision to break away from a tradition of giving the public access to information that was once as fearless as it was incisive.

We got a sense something like this was coming when Village Voice Media folded its renewed attempt to launch its NakedCity properties last year, at the eve of what would become a turbulent battle over the company's attitude toward sex and sex work. A little over a year later, after an incredibly sex-negative series of articles regarding L.A.'s Porn Valley, LA Weekly followed suit by killing the budget for their sex-focused web property AfterDark LA, effectively ousting its editor who blogged under the pseudonym Barbie Davenporte in August.

Since the launch of AfterDark, the LA Weekly had increasingly reduced its publication of sex-related stories in its print edition, including Dan Savage's "Savage Love" and Freddy and Eddy's "Behind Our White Picket Fence" columns. Despite the fact that AfterDark has continued in unpredictable spurts since Davenporte's departure, it is unclear whether the effort will go on much longer.

A source at the Weekly tells us, "the Voice profits incredibly from sex, but they don't know how to feel about it. It's so much easier to just cut ties with it than it is to become an active member of the sex positive community. The question now is how they mean to survive without it."

It's a valid question. Divorcing the papers from Backpage.com will enable advertisers to continue doing business with the weeklies without having to fear consumer boycotts for their indirect support of a site accused of enabling the "sale of humans." But even accounting for these advertisers, the weeklies have not been particularly profitable. The LA Weekly shrunk from 27 inches to 26 in 2009 and again to 24 inches in 2011, along with the OC Weekly and Phoenix's New Times. At that time, Mediabistro reported that Village Voice Media was planning to de-emphasize its print editions in favor of expanding its web prominence. Indeed, since Larkin and Lacey's company bought the papers in 2005, circulation has dropped a whopping 40 percent (from 247,000 to 149,000).

With no sustainable online advertising model in place (only 5 percent of their advertising comes from digital sources, according to AdWeek), it's difficult to say whether the struggling newspapers and underdeveloped web properties will survive much longer.

What we want to know is whether this separation will give the weeklies their spines back or whether, in order to placate to still uncertain advertisers, they will continue to play it safe on the adult front and ignore their rich heritage of unabashedly reporting what makes its cities' denizens tick, what makes them think, and what makes them wet.



Posted by Staff at 6:50 PM - Permalink  |  E-Mail  |  Print  |  I Like

October 7, 2012
It's A Lap Dance. It's A Moment. Take It

it's a lap dance. Take it.

“I hate bachelor parties,” the petite blonde in a pink bikini sitting beside me at the bar said. “I hate guys who are in here because they think they have to be in here and not because they want to be here. You’d think we were dentists asking to pull out their teeth. You don’t need local anesthesia! It’s a fucking lap dance!”

She’s not alone. When you look at stripping for what it is — a job — and consider what it’s like to have to provide any semblance of customer service to someone who doesn’t really want the product or service, you begin to get an idea of what this situation is like. Of course, when you’re working at Best Buy, you don’t often encounter people who don’t really want to be there. They might be indecisive about the gadgets they’re looking at, but it’s not often that you’re going to encounter someone with a pained expression on their faces because they just don’t want to be there. The closest comparison I can come up with is the telemarketer. Most people hate them. I respect them.

Most people think of strip clubs and imagine exuberant expressions on the faces of the men who frequent them. I wish that were the case. It’s not. For one, the bachelor party has turned the strip club into a requirement. Some embrace it as a good reason as any to let loose, but a percentage seem to enter with shame, embarrassment, resentment, irritation, and — the worst — that breed of “understanding” that is closer to pity than anything a guy might have picked up in a gender studies class at some point during their undergrad years.

Case in point: this piece by Nathan Graziano at The Good Men Project:

I’m humiliated by the fact that this woman is being paid to feign interest in me — if they even bother to feign it — only for the duration of Aerosmith’s “Angel.”

I also become hyper-conscious of the power dynamic at work. On one hand, the dancer is being paid for a service, which makes her in some way indentured to the man. And there’s always the arguable point that it objectifies and denigrates the woman, thus giving the man the upper hand.

However, like an actress, the dancer only has to play the role of temptress for a limited amount of time. And while the male is clearly attracted to her and contriving absurd scenarios where the dancer might actually sleep with him, the female is dividing numbers in her head — “Forty dollars for four minutes is ten bucks a minute, which makes six cents a second to sit on this chump's lap.”

I wonder whether anyone who walks into a Starbucks worries for a moment about whether the barista is being denigrated, standing there hour after hour for minimum wage, smiling and being nice no matter how impatient and obsessive compulsive the customer acts about his soy latte. The barista is not indentured to the costumer, even if she knows that being very accommodating will score her some cash in the tip jar. “The ccustomer is always right!” is not something any manager has ever said at a strip club I’ve set foot in. Ever. Even the high rollers in the champagne room. And if they tried to pull something like that on me or any dancer I know, they’d be on their knees in front of a lawyer before the DJ could think of putting Aerosmith on.

Mind you, it does happen. But combating abuses in the industry requires something completely different than pitying looks. It requires organization and a stance against a society that refuses to see sex work as a legitimate thing, and the people within that industry as workers who deserve rights like any other working person.

But I know what Graziano is talking about. When I was dancing, I would often encounter this sort of man. I will never forget one occasion — a man had spent several minutes griping about his job; he hated the schedule, he hated his clients, he hated the paperwork, he was bored, he was tired, and so on. I navigated the conversation away from all the things he hated by asking what he loved to do. We spent several more minutes discussing his love of sailing and the fact he hadn’t spent any time on his boat in the past couple of years.

“You have the power to change that, you know,” I said. “When was the last time you took a vacation or personal day?”

“I don’t even know,” he responded.

“Why not do it? What, exactly, is stopping you?”

He paused for a moment, then smiled. “You’re really something, you know. I can’t believe I am having this conversation at a goddamn strip club. You’re right! I need to just take some time off, just go out to the water.”

He laughed and looked around.

“What are you doing here?” he asked. “This is not who you are.”

“‘This’ meaning a strip club?” I asked. “I’m not a strip club any more than you are your office.”

“I mean, you are doing something more than this, right?” he asked. “This isn’t the last stop for you, right? You are so much more than this.”

“I do a lot of things. The last stop is death. And yes, I am much more than any job I hold,” I answered his questions with mild irritation. Before it could overcome me, I switched tracks: “Have you ever been to Starbucks?”

“Yeah?” he responded, slightly uncertain.

“Ever met a barista who’s really nice?”

“Sure.”

“Have you ever told her, after some conversation, that she is so much more than her job, that you hope she is going places, that what she does is beneath her?”

He didn’t respond.

“What would you do if I walked into your office, looked down my nose at you and said, ‘I don’t really know you, but you can do so much better. I’m just a client, but I know how this works better than you and I think this shit is beneath you. Anyway, here is some money, now get me my project specs.’ Does that sound motivating to you?”

“No.”

“So why are you saying it to me?” I asked. “I stand to make six figures a year if I work really hard. But I don’t work hard. I work sporadically. I choose my own hours. I don’t dance for anyone I don’t want to dance for. I come in whenever I want and leave whenever I want. I meet really interesting people. I connect with them, I share a moment. It’s not just a song; it’s a moment we’re having that we’ll never get back. It may change everything or become just one more vignette in the carnival of experience. You never know. That’s the best part. Sure, I get up on that stage and take off my top. You think that’s demeaning? I think it’s beautiful. This is my body, and I love it and respect it the same way I love and respect my brain, which I also gyrate for a price. I think the only differences between you and me are the way we file taxes, health benefits, a ready-made retirement plan and the fact I don’t have to take it in the ass from my boss because I am my boss.”

“When you put it that way, your job sounds better than mine.”

“It’s not a contest,” I said. “Work is work. We do what we gotta do in the hopes we’ll have a shot at doing what we wanna do, whether that has anything to do with a career or not.”

Understandably, there is some degree of privilege in my experience. I was dancing by choice, not circumstance. Many women in the industry dance because their circumstances limit their options. But that’s not much different than having to take a retail or waitressing gig. How many people do that because they want to? Why do we honor their choices and call them hard-working but deny sex workers the same right? Why are baristas and attorneys and engineers allowed to whine about hating their jobs while sex workers are questioned about their choices every time they have the audacity to complain about theirs?

Everyone has great days and bad days at work. Everyone lives through workplace situations that are difficult. Everyone has moments of recognition and empowerment and days that make them simply want to bash their heads into the nearest surface. No one questions the barista, the manager, the editor, the programmer about their choices. No one says they’re letting themselves be exploited. No one walks into their workplaces with pity in their eyes or feels resentment because they have to pay to receive a good or service. Most people pride themselves on tipping their waiter decently!

And yet, if you are not fully dressed, it doesn’t matter if you speak seven languages, kick ass on World of Warcraft, are working on a book, paying your way through law school, supporting your kids, saving your mortgage, or planning to take the next year off to travel the world. You are no more than a stripper and you can do so much better.

Looking at me as a human doesn’t mean feeling sorry for me because I am sitting there, topless. It means realizing that I, just like you, am a multidimensional being who has likes and dislikes, boundaries, ideas, emotions, and dreams. Like you, I am more than the job you see me doing, this one tiny facet of a life that is filled with an incredible array of things no one else will ever truly grasp. Like you, I shouldn’t have to justify why I am doing what I am doing to everyone who walks in the door. Just let me do my job the same way I would let you do yours if I were to walk into your office.

And just what is my job? My job is reading you. It’s determining whether you want me to help you bring out what’s preoccupying you to pick apart, or distract you from that reality. My job is catalyzed in flesh, yes, but really, I’m trafficking in intimacy. There’s something beautiful in those moments shared between strangers who have, beyond the briefest transaction, no obligations toward one another beyond three minutes — or thirty, or an hour, or three hours.

I’m not here counting how many cents I am making every second I sit on your lap. I’m not here to make you believe I desire you. I’m here to make a moment. Take that moment. It belongs to you.

Header image by Jessica Janson.



Posted by AV Flox at 6:37 AM - Permalink  |  E-Mail  |  Print  |  I Like

September 14, 2012
Gamers Won't Be Seduced, Will Stare At Random Cleav Instead

No sexy games on Steam

Steam is a gaming platform much adored by PC gamers the world over. When Valve opened up the platform with Steam Greenlight to allow gamers to help pick which game submissions make it in, they rocked the world of gaming. But it’s not all been fun and crowdsourcing.

For Miriam Bellard and Andrejs Skuja, founders of No Reply Games, the going has been rough. Their offering, Seduce Me, focuses on high-brow interactive erotica. They submitted it to Greenlight to see what the world said and an hour later received a stern form-letter response from Valve saying they had violated the terms and the game was being removed. What are the terms? “Your game must not contain offensive material or violate copyright or intellectual property rights.”

Per Games Industry International:

Should the moral compass of certain individuals dictate what content is offered to those with a different view? For Bellard, the side of the argument that Valve chose to take will only convince other developers to err on the side of caution, and create content that won’t transgress a frankly vast possible spectrum of opinion.

Of course, these strictures on what is deemed fit for sale aren’t difficult to find in the games industry. Apple’s guidelines for iOS submissions have attracted criticism for prohibiting a wide range of themes and subject matter, from sex and sexuality to depictions of animal faeces, but Bellard associates Valve with a different set of values.

“I understand it more on iOS, because Apple has this air of, ‘we’re here to protect you, everything just works and it’s a nice, safe place to be’,” she says. “That’s Apple’s whole ethos: I don’t like it, but I understand it. I don’t understand Valve’s, because it’s supposed to be part of the PC, Linux ethos. I’d always seen them as being on the side of the underdog, on the side of free speech. I personally don’t think Valve needs [to play it safe]. I think Valve is in a position where they could push this if they wanted to. Sure, they might lose a very small amount of their audience, but they would gain others… Why they’ve chosen not to is possibly that they’re part of that American culture, and they view this issue with that American point-of-view.”

That Steam allows the objectification and sexualization of female characters in a variety of its games but refuses to accept a game about actually engaging with women characters sexually in an interactive fashion is astonishingly backward.



Posted by Staff at 11:00 AM - Permalink  |  E-Mail  |  Print  |  I Like

September 13, 2012
D.C. Launches Transgender Respect Campaign

DC launches a trans pride campaign

The District of Columbia is launching a campaign to promote respect for D.C.’s transgender and gender-non-conforming communities. The D.C. Office of Human Rights has focused much of its attention on inculcating in the population that gender identity-based discrimination is illegal. To them, this campaign — which you can see in all its glory on their Facebook page, is a part of this effort.

“I think it’s going to have a great impact,” Kisha, one of the models, told Buzzfeed. “The fact that it is going to be right there in your face. People will see transgender people. They’re going through everyday life, everyday struggles — the same as straight people, rich people, everyone. Getting the message out there … is going to be great.”



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September 12, 2012
If Morgan Freeman Read Fifty Shades [Parody]

In this clip, Josh Robert Thompson imitates the voice of Morgan Freeman while reading excerpts from the popular Fifty Shades of Grey and offering his own commentary.

Here’s a sample:

There are some sick people in this world. I cannot honestly believe people read this crap. “Do you want the regular, vanilla relationship with no kinky fuckery at all?” My mouth drops open. “Kinky fuckery?” I squeak. My inner goddess is down on bended knee with hands clasped in supplication, begging me. “I like your kinky fuckery.” More like bullshit douchery. We never used such terms when I was young.

Header caricature by Cesar Mascarenhas. Image of Fifty Shades of Grey



Posted by Staff at 10:00 AM - Permalink  |  E-Mail  |  Print  |  I Like

September 11, 2012
Adult Star Stoya Bares It All ? About Harassment

If you haven’t read this epic piece by adult entertainer Stoya over at Jezebel, do so now. Here’s a snippet:

Men have followed me down the street poking me in what one can only assume is an attempt to get my attention. Men have grabbed the cord to my headphones and ripped them out of my ears. Multiple times. Men have grabbed parts of my body, or my coat or purse strap. [...] They ask if they can get my number, they ask where I live, why I’m not smiling, why my boyfriend lets me walk around by myself. Then they ask why I’m such a bitch, if my pussy is made of ice. They say that they never do this, as though I’ve somehow driven them to inappropriate behavior and deserve it. They say they’re just having fun, trying to pay me a compliment. Pretty frequently they get mean, slipping into a loud tourettes ? like chant of bitch-whore-cunt-slut.

Before you try to tell me that it’s because I take my clothes off for a living, let me tell you that this started way before I was 18. Let me tell you that every single woman I know has at least one truly terrifying story of street harassment and a whole bunch of other stories that are merely insulting or annoying. Let me remind you that in a room of pornography fans, who have actually seen me with a dick in my mouth and who can buy a replica of my vagina in a can or box, I am treated with far more respect than I am walking down the street.

We are not entitled to other people’s space, bodies or time. When approaching, be respectful, mind body language. If the other person doesn’t look interested or seems busy, leave them alone.

Header image via Fleshbot.



Posted by Staff at 12:00 PM - Permalink  |  E-Mail  |  Print  |  I Like

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