The media frenzy surrounding the racism of Los Angeles Clippers’ team owner Donald Sterling reminded me why last year, at the age of 23, I decided to leave the country I had been calling “home” for nearly two decades. As a black woman of Caribbean descent, I felt alienated and lost in a sea of endless racial divide and turmoil. Everyday in America I was drowning. My sanity and sense of stability slowly deteriorated, submerged in disillusionment. I did not want to leave, I had to leave. A fiery rage set ablaze feelings of anger, resentment, disappointment that could not be quelled. How could the country that raised me on the notion that all men are created equal, cast me into a reality of segregation and racism? The questions swarmed incessantly like a mosquito’s annoying buzz. The answers never came. Instead, I left. Keep reading »
Gilt City Chicago is currently offering an entire wedding at the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel, for the low, low price of $31,000! All you have to do? Add it to your cart. The voucher gets you a wedding for up to 120 guests, and includes all of the standard wedding elements you could think of: cocktail hour, open bar, three-course dinner (standard protein or vegetarian entrée), a cake, menu cards, and more. Admittedly, there are some cool things, like a “Chicago-style lunch” for the groomsmen (hot dogs?) and an after-party included in the package. But still, am I alone in thinking a flash wedding sale is just weird? Keep reading »
I’ve written before about issues around payment processors and the sex industry, how businesses like Paypal, WePay and Google Wallet were shutting anyone they suspected of sex work out of using their services.
Well, turns out that a trickle down effect is happening within the banking world, as Chase recently sent letters out to hundreds of porn performers telling them their bank accounts would be shut down May 11th. Perez Hilton posted a photo of one of these letters from adult performer Teagan Presley, and while I am somewhat loath to link to his blog, I think it’s important to read the language. You’ll notice that Chase never specifically cites adult work in their decision, just that they “reviewed the account and determined that we will be closing it on May 11, 2014. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.”
I’m sure they’re terribly sorry. Just as they were really apologetic for refusing to process payments for Lovability CEO Tiffany Gaines. Her crime? Selling condoms, because they’re “adult-oriented material”. The same adult oriented material, of course, as Trojan, who could process their payments with no issues through Chase, but never mind. As long as they’re really sorry about it. Keep reading »
I’m just going to say it upfront: I’m a massive fan of “Game of Thrones.”
I know it’s problematic, controversial around its portrayals of women, and arguably more violent on screen than required (see last night’s rape scene for an example). And I know there’s been plenty of excellent critiques arguing that “Game of Thrones” is feminist, or isn’t feminist, or asking if it matters whether it’s feminist or not. I’ve appreciated the commentary on racism and “GoT,” as well as in fantasy in general. Through this I have learned a great deal on how to be a fan of problematic media while still maintaining a critique; there are certain ways where the book and the show differ that make the show more sexist, and in other ways less sexist, than the original material. I’m glad, actually, because if I never engaged in anything I found critique-worthy I think I’d self-destruct! Keep reading »
I’m writing this on an airplane from Toronto, Ontario, to San Francisco, California. I’ve just spent six days among other women, other queers, other porn performers, and other feminists at the Feminist Porn Awards and the Feminist Porn Conference. In that time, I have witnessed moments that made my heart soar, my eyes tear up with love and the fiercest of joys, pride in the people I hold close to me. I have experienced moments that hurt my heart, that disappointed me, moments that underlined how privilege can alienate and divide us. I spoke to academics, I spoke to sex workers, I spoke to sex workers who were academics. It was a weekend of realizations, inspiration, determination … and I came away from it all feeling exhilarated and ready to change the world.
I also realized that the sex wars are still very much A Thing. There are still Good Feminists and Bad Feminists, though the definition of which is which varies depending on who you ask. It’s saddening to see us fighting each other, women who have been called prudes for asserting their sexual choices attacking women who have been called whores for asserting their sexual choices … and vice versa. This is, of course, exactly what the patriarchy wants. While we bicker about whether or not porn is empowering, we are being systematically marginalized, turned away from jobs, thrown out of school, our kids and our workspaces and our money and our privacy taken away from us. The act of having sex on film or any other sex work may empower some and humiliate others, or we might start feeling one way and eventually feel another. (The same holds true for food service workers, though we ask that question far less often). In our current culture we are all experiencing and navigating the effects of capitalist patriarchy. Keep reading »
Racism is a covert agent in our lives. Some claim that it is invisible to them; completely hidden. It is very infrequent that racism openly reveals itself for long enough to be identified, before disappearing, cloaked in discussions about “culture,” “socio-economics,” “sensitivity,” or “history.” Online prostitution is one venue where structural racism can be seen in plain sight.
That’s why I researched online prostitution in New York City for my college thesis. With the help of websites like Backpage.com and Craigslist.com, I became acquainted with the underground sex industry, where the value of a woman is in plain sight. Her worth is advertised without a hint of political correctness. No excuses are made about class, schooling or occupation. Every woman is simply a scantily-clad commodity who, with the click of a mouse, is deemed wanted or unwanted for purchase. Keep reading »