Tag Archives: the soapbox

The Soapbox: “American Sniper” Isn’t Really A Film About War

The Soapbox: "American Sniper" Isn't Really A Film About War

A Republican yahoo made a movie about a Navy SEAL during the Iraq Occupation, and apparently no one foresaw that it would be a total shitshow that would send this country into online hysterics. Clint Eastwood is a man who accused an invisible Obama, alighting upon an empty stool, of being “absolutely crazy” at the Republican National Convention in 2012. He is also a man who is a lauded filmmaker and universally loved icon, because if America loves anything as much as a war movie, it’s a geriatric western star and his emotionally exploitative directorial work. “American Sniper”is the culmination of the unquestioning American patriotism that soars as high as an eagle and stands as strong as the second amendment, tied in a pretty bow by the antiquated standards of Hollywood. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: On Sex Addiction, Sex Work & The Wall Street Intern Who Quit Her Job To Pursue Porn

The Soapbox: On Sex Addiction, Sex Work & The Wall Street Intern Who Quit Her Job To Pursue Porn

Last week, a Wall Street intern quit her job to pursue porn. Paige Jennings, who goes by Veronica Vain, was working at an Lazard’s alternative-investments marketing group in New York when she “quit [Wall Street] before it fired me” (according to her Twitter page) after it was discovered she was tweeting nude selfies from inside the bathroom of Lazard’s offices.

I worked in the sex industry on and off through college as a stripper, and then later for a stint as a call girl, selling myself as a non pro on Craigslist and performing what amounted to “the Girlfriend Experience.” When I lost my job as a public school teacher after it was discovered I was writing and speaking openly about my past, I argued — as Jennings does so articulately in this interview — that sexy and serious needn’t be mutually exclusive, and that women have the right to do what they want with their bodies, and not be shamed for the choices they make.

My participation in the sex industry was my choice— and I defend a woman’s right to make that choice. That said, I think it’s fair to critically examine people’s choices, just as I’ve learned to critically examine my own. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: On The Sacrifices Expected Of Immigrant Nannies

The Soapbox: On The Sacrifices Expected Of Immigrant Nannies

I have a deep-seated resentment of White parents who specifically hire Black immigrant women or people of color as nannies. Whenever I go to the park or take a stroll through New York City on any day of the work week and see large groups of Black or minority women pushing strollers with little blonde or brown-haired children in the seats, I cringe. As the holidays approach, the sight becomes even more troublesome for me. This isn’t because there is something inherently wrong with people of different races being caretakers for White children, but because I know far too well the intricacies of that dynamic, namely the many sacrifices these women of color often make to secure and keep such work, and the unfair and demeaning conditions sometimes imposed on them by their White employers. See, I was the child of an immigrant, Afro-Caribbean live-in childcare worker. And I know what she faced. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Let’s Get Real When Discussing Complicated Sexual Experiences

The Soapbox: We Can't Limit Our Vocabulary When Discussing Complicated Sexual Experiences

There’s been a lot of talk lately in the media about sexual violence. Late last month, former CBC Broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi was fired amid allegations of sexual assault. A few weeks ago, Shia LaBeouf came forward with claims that he was raped during an art exhibition. And by now everyone’s heard of the sex abuse allegations first brought against Bill Cosby decades ago, which seem to just keep coming.

Then a little over a week ago, Rolling Stone released an editor’s note that undermined their own investigative account of a brutal gang rape that allegedly took place at a fraternity house at the University of Virginia. It was a move that The Frisky’s Beejoli Shah astutely noted as “just another example of shifting the focus away from the real issue at hand: how we talk about rape, and how hard it is for survivors to come forward.”

As a former sex worker turned sex writer I think it’s good that people are talking about sexual health. It’s unfortunate, however, that we don’t know how to talk about complicated sexual experiences without focusing on two words: consent, and rape. In certain circumstances, I wonder if these aren’t the wrong words. Certainly, they shouldn’t be the only ones. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Railing Against AA Does A Disservice To Those Trying To Get Sober

The Soapbox: Railing Against AA Does A Disservice To Those Trying To Get Sober

This post was originally published on After Party Chat and republished with permission.

We’ve all got at least one Facebook friend who just can’t stand Alcoholics Anonymous and needs to let the world know it every chance that they get. I usually politely ignore them. But the latest anti-AA screed to show up in my newsfeed was too irritating to ignore.

First off, let me start by saying that I’m not a member of AA, lest my opinion be dismissed as coming from a member of “the AA cult.” Have I been to meetings? Yes. Tons of them. Do I attend meetings today? No, I don’t. At one point I attended regularly, and it helped me. At a certain point,  it no longer helped me and so I stopped. Simple as that. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Dissent Belongs In The Classroom

The Soapbox: Dissent Belongs In The Classroom

Driving home with my 16-year-old son this week, I asked him if any of his teachers had led a discussion regarding recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. He told me that it hadn’t come up. I pressed a little bit harder—not in AP US History? Not in sophomore English? Nope. I then asked him why he thought that was and he responded, “Well, Mom, everyone’s viewpoint would be subjective. Like, no one would agree and it could get heated.”  The sun began to set as we neared home and our conversation quieted. I felt heavy of heart—and I can best speak to that pain and worry as a teacher. Keep reading »

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