Thinking Sex: Representing Desire and Difference
A Feminist and Gender Studies Course
Bryn Mawr College, Fall, 2002

Archive 18: Sex in Law and Media


Name:  Jess T
Username:  jtucker@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Reading for Sex and the Law
Date:  2002-11-14 12:51:43
Message Id:  3733
Comments:
I invite you to go to Legal Age of Consent to look at laws related to sex and age of consent by states and countries. I suggest looking at whichever state/country interests you, but for the continuity of the class I think it would be a good idea for everyone to read about the state of Pennsylvania at Pennsylvania -- Age of Consent (all of the blue state/country names are links to further information).

My portion of Tuesday's discusion will be based on the Age of Consent website. But if you are interested in further information about sex and the law I suggest Sex Laws Info Website and the Philly section of the World Sex Guide might be of interest to this class.

see you in class Tuesday!
Jess
Name:  Lindsa
Username:  lupdegro@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Online Reading For Tuesday
Date:  2002-11-15 19:47:41
Message Id:  3750
Comments:
Here are two readings for Tuesday's discussion about sex and the law. The first one discusses law enforcement under criminalized prostitution.

http://www.bayswan.org/Polpage.html

The second is the testimony of a former brothel worker who is in favor of the decriminalization of prostitution, which she argues would decrease the exploitation of sex workers by eliminating the need for brothel houses.

http://www.bayswan.org/Laura.html


Name:  Elisa
Username:  eespirit@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Sex and the Law
Date:  2002-11-16 10:44:07
Message Id:  3756
Comments:
Hey Ladies

I wanted to give you guys a little information on Megan's Law to read for Tuesday. Please checkout this website:

http://www.meganslaw.state.pa.us/soab/cwp/browse.aspa=3&bc=0&c=46295&soabNav=|

This website is the Sex Offenders Assessment board website for PA. Please read the following sections: History of the Law (both Federal and State), Investigation, and PLEASE take the "Interactive Quiz."

Also, to balance that out with a more objective view, please read this very short article:

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/wnt/DailyNews/meganslaw021113.html

This is an article on the ABC news website. (World News tonight did a piece on Megan's Law just this past week, so this topic, though almost 10 yrs in the making, is still right in the middle of political and media debates.)

I think the public vs private aspects of sex laws is what we want to focus on, so here are some questions to think about while you read our materials:

*what effects do public sex laws have on private sex lives? what does it mean that a public institution (the govt) is making decisions about your (private) sex life?

*do you think it is right for someone to possibly write a law regulating how/should you be having sex?

*(this is jess's question)Is the public discusion of these laws pornographic/obscene?


Finally, it would be great if everyone could print out/ bring in an example of ONE thing on one of the websites that you had a reaction to--- this could be something that made you think, a law that you didnt know exisited, something you have a question on, something you want to discuss further... anything that sparks you in any way...

For example, someone could bring in a print out of the definitions of rape and sexual assault from the website Jess provided and raise the question: what is the diff. between the two? and then as a class we can examine/ assess the lang. and/or discussion together in class...

For those examples we dont get to in class, you could use them for your weekly posting! :)


Okay, this is long enough! Hope it all makes sense!


Name:  Anne Dalke
Username:  adalke@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Reality Check
Date:  2002-11-18 11:09:20
Message Id:  3776
Comments:

This week's posting should answer (one or more of!) Elisa's questions above...

and/or share your thoughts about the upcoming session on sex in the media.

I found it ironic that the following lecture will be happening just as we are discussing sex and the law:

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1.00 - Carpenter 21
Kaja Silverman (Department of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley): "The Realism of Love"

Anne


Name:  Chelsea
Username:  clphilli@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Language, Sex and Cole Porter:)
Date:  2002-11-18 15:37:54
Message Id:  3778
Comments:
Cole Porter, damn sexy man. Way with words that I thought you'd all enjoy:) From Kiss Me Kate, by the bye. If you don't have time for both, at least read the second as it kinda relates to the where the legal/moral line would be drawn for prostitution.

11.TOO DARN HOT
PAUL:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
I'd like to sup with my baby tonight,
And play the pup with my baby tonight.
I'd like to sup with my baby tonight,
And play the pup with my baby tonight,
But I ain't up to my baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
I'd like to stop for my baby tonight,
And blow my top with my baby tonight.
I'd like to stop for my baby tonight,
And blow my top with my baby tonight,
But I'd be a flop with baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
I'd like to fool with my baby tonight,
Break ev'ry rule with my baby tonight.
PAUL AND BOYS:
I'd like to fool with my baby tonight,
Break ev'ry rule with my baby tonight,
PAUL:
But, pillow, you'll be my baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
According to the Kinsey Report
Ev'ry average man you know
Much prefers to play his favorite sport
When the temperature is low,
But when the thermometer goes 'way up
And the weather is sizzling hot,
PAUL:
Mister Adam
For his madam.
Is not,
PAUL AND BOYS:
'Cause it's too, too
Too darn hot,
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
I'd like to call on my baby tonight,
And give my all to my baby tonight.
PAUL AND BOYS:
I'd like to call on my baby tonight,
And give my all to my baby tonight.
PAUL:
But I can't play ball with baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
I'd like to meet with my baby tonight,
Get off my feet, mm, with my baby tonight.
PAUL AND BOYS:
I'd like to meet with my baby tonight,
Get off my feet with my baby tonight.
PAUL:
But no repeat with baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
It's too darn hot,
It's too darn hot.
PAUL:
I'd like to coo to my baby tonight,
And pitch the woo with my baby tonight.
PAUL AND BOYS:
I'd like to coo to my baby tonight,
And pitch the woo with my baby tonight.
PAUL:
But, pillow, you'll be my baby tonight,
'Cause it's too darn hot.
PAUL AND BOYS:
According to the Kinsey Report
Ev'ry average man you know
Much prefer to play his favorite sport
When the temperature is low,
But when the thermometer goes 'way up
And the weather is sizzling hot,
PAUL:
Mister Gob
For his squab.
A marine,
For his queen.
A G.I.
For his cutie-pie
Is not,
PAUL AND BOYS:
'Cause it's too, too
Too darn hot,
It's too darn hot,
It's too, too, too, too darn hot.

LOIS:
Oh, Bill,
Why can't you behave?
Why can't you behave?
How in hell can you be jealous
When you know, baby, I'm your slave?
I'm just mad for you,
And I'll always be,
But naturally

If a custom-tailored vet
Asks me out for something wet,
When the vet begins to pet, I cry "Hooray!"
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
I enjoy a tender pass
By the boss of Boston, Mass.,
Though his pass is middle-class and notta Backa Bay.
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
There's a madman known as Mack
Who is planing to attack,
If his mad attack means a Cadillac, okay!
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.

I've been asked to have a meal
By a big tycoon in steel,
If the meal includes a deal, accept I may.
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
I could never curl my lip
To a dazzlin' diamond clip,
Though the clip meant "let 'er rip," I'd not say "Nay!"
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
There's an oil man known as Tex
Who is keen to give me checks,
And his checks, I fear, mean that sex is here to stay!
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.

From Ohio Mister Thorne
Calls me up from night 'til morn,
Mister Thorne once cornered corn and that ain't hay.
Aha!
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
From Milwaukee Mister Fritz
Often moves me to the Ritz,
Mister Fritz is full of Schlitz and full of play.
But I'm always true to you, darlin', in my fashion,
Yes, I'm always true to you, darlin', in my way.
Mister Harris, plutocrat,
Wants to give my cheek a pat,
If the Harris pat
Means a Paris hat,
Bb, Oo-la-la!
Mais je suis toujour fidle, darlin', in my fashion,
Oui, je suis toujour fidle, darlin', in my way.


Name:  Chelsea
Username:  clphilli@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-11-18 18:44:00
Message Id:  3782
Comments:
Here is the part of Lady Chatterley's Lover that I was talking about in class on Thursday, enjoy:)

"'It is an amusing idea, Charlie,' said Dukes, 'that sex is just another form of talk, where you act the words instead saying them...Sex might be a sort of normal, physical conversation between a man and a woman (sorry, can't control Lawrence's notions of sex)...'
'If you have the proper sort of emotion or sympathy with a woman, you ought to sleep with her,' said May, 'It's the only decent thing to do, to go to bed with her. Just as, when you are interested talking to someone, the only decent thing to do is have the talk out. You don't prudishly put you teeth between your tongue and bite it.'"


Name:  elisa
Username:  eespirit@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Just in case
Date:  2002-11-18 23:13:43
Message Id:  3785
Comments:
Hey y'all

The link I posted for the Sex Offenders board worked in my room, but when i tried to access it from the library it didnt.

So, just in case it didnt work, here is the main page for the website:

http://www.meganslaw.state.pa.us/soab/site/default.asp


hope there arent any problems accessing it! :)


Name:  Bea
Username:  blucaciu@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Can a 13-year-old be ready to have sex?
Date:  2002-11-19 14:57:30
Message Id:  3794
Comments:
I just have to post some of these thoughts before I forget them myself. Something about the question that Chelsea brought up really showed me how one statement (or law, or question, or concept of any sort) can be interpreted in so many different ways. For example, when faced with the question of whether a 13-year-old can be ready to have sex, it seemed like most of us instantly labeled the adolescent as being female. Would our opinions be gender-biased? Also, I just wanted to make a point of saying that just because someone (child, adolescent, or even adult) may be ready to have sex, does not necessarily mean that s/he will. Someone may be educated about the details and consequences related to sex but may still hold off on actually taking part in it.
Name:  ngoc
Username:  ntran@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  language of legality
Date:  2002-11-19 23:06:31
Message Id:  3800
Comments:
i did not speak at all in class today because, in a sense, i was learning everything...trying to listen and understand everyone's perspectives and questions. in many ways, these questions we've come up with are overwhelming to me because i do not know the answers ... i don't even know where i would stand on those bluring issues (such as the question chelsea posted at the end). from these discussion, it seems that we agree to certain extend that those laws are meant for protection. i want to post the question then, when happen to those countries where no specific laws are written for that specific purpose. if these countries are to have these laws, what kind of language should be use and why?
Name:  From the Sexiest Media Group E
Username:  
Subject:  Media!
Date:  2002-11-20 00:47:44
Message Id:  3802
Comments:
Dear Sexy-Thinkers:

This Thursday we will be meeting to discuss sex within the "media", but we're hoping to run class a little differently.

We're not assigning heavy reading, only suggesting one to help structure our discussion. Check out this really short article on the web at Sex Etc. on-line: http://www.sxetc.org/library/genLibArticle.asp?CategoryID=1286&ArticleID=art_1369

Bring in at least 1-2 examples of sex in the "media". Please make one a visual example that you actually bring to class, but be as creative as you can with the others. Think outside of the box. Surprise us. We dare you! Be thinking about your definition of "media" and how your examples are located within this definition.

We've thought of questions and topics to discuss, but we're not going to post them here, because we do not want to limit your thinking. We're hoping that you'll push the limits of your own ideas, bringing unique perspectives to the issue, and pushing one another into a rich discussion.

These are our only requests. Think of it as minimal preparation, for maximum thought!

Smooches,
Annie Sprinkle El-Youssef
Monica Lewinisky Mendell
Candida Royale Teel
Barbara Walters Phillips
Britney Spears Lucaciu


Name:  Fritz Dubuisson
Username:  fdubuiss@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Law and Marriage
Date:  2002-11-20 15:22:24
Message Id:  3817
Comments:
I was surprised by yesterday's discussion which was mostly geared toward sex workers and the laws that should but don't protect them. The real surprised was when Anne referred to marriage as a form of legalized prostitution. I heard the appalled gasp that seemed to escape from more than half the class, yet everyone shied away from the topic and did not bring her up on it. In my opinion marriage can be seen as a form of legalized prostitution. It payment for services rendered. The benefits for the married seem to far out weight those for single people or the children of the single. The government then seems to become this sort of pimp who dangles benefits and rewards in front of those who abide by the "law" and get legally married. But I want to move away from that. If you asked 20 people what the thought marriage was I'm sure you'd get 20 different reasons. From what motivates people to what the actual state of being married is. Many times I've spoken with people who are not from America and have come away with the feeling that marriage here is soon times nothing more than a piece of paper that comes with tax benefits. I propose that marriage like the language of sex is something that we may never have the language to fully express. For some it is a deep spiritual experience for others it can be an accomadating arrangment shouldn't it be left to the individuals involved to define or not define their state of being?
Name:  Fritz Dubuisson
Username:  Fdubuiss@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-11-20 15:39:14
Message Id:  3821
Comments:
Our thinking sex class is still an oddity. THe world outside of bmc would still find it strange and probably indecent that a room full of women were sitting around talking about sex when Glenda explained the realationship dynamics that can sometimes prove dangerous to a woman's well being.
Name:  Louise and Jennifer
Username:  ninabearegard@hotmail.com
Subject:  Marriage...Prostitution....?
Date:  2002-11-21 01:02:37
Message Id:  3832
Comments:
Hi, we're two Columbia University students taking a women's studies class, and stumbled across this site while doing research. We're really intrigued by some of the discourse offered, and, if it's okay, we'd like to join in the discussion for a moment...

About marriage as being a legalized form of prostitution. Can it really be conceived that way today? What about the legalization of same-sex marriages, for example? Does this merely expand the ideas of the popular imaginations idea of prostitution? Or what? What does it mean in today's contemporary society--someone posted that everyone gasped when this was stated--do people think it's true? It seems to me that the idea of marriage being a legalized form of prostitution was dramatic rhetoric in the heydey of Second Wave Feminism because marriage hadn't been conceived or imagined as such...but now? Is this rhetoric necessary in our contemporary lives, or is it just an overused phrase that is a stereotype catchphrase in the lexicon of the popular imagination's idea of a "feminist?"

I guess the thing we're trying to figure out in our course, as we figure out where we fit in as Third Wave feminists living in an imperfect world, is what can we DO about it? I mean, we can talk about the government, and misogynism, but what can we do to better our world? Marriages and domestic partnerships exist...the government exists...and if we're going to be living in this world and making an active difference, can we afford to be on its fringes with dusty rhetoric from the 1960's...?

Thanks a lot for letting us post, this forum is really cool (we don't have anything like it)


Name:  Monica Locsin
Username:  mlocsin@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Not feeling well
Date:  2002-11-21 14:16:26
Message Id:  3835
Comments:
Hi everyone,
I am so upset that I am not able to go to class today because I woke up with a high fever and I just can't function well. I'm sure sex in the media did a great job today and how I wish I saw it!!! I have been thinking about Elisa's question and how she commented on the song used to demonstrate the sign language. I think Iris did an excellent job with the sign language, I can't think of anyone that I know who could have done it any better:) Anyways, going back to Elisas comment on using a song that didnt have to have sexual words for the interpretation is something I think is true. I mean translating a song that does not have any sexual words can be sexual. A great example of a song with no sexual words and that does express a sexual message is peaches and cream which Elisa pointed out. Another song I can actually think of is "Too close" by Next. The chorus is like this:

Baby, when were grinding,
I get so excited, you know that I like it
I try but I can't hide it, oh you're dancing real close
and real real slow, you're making it hard for me.

None of these words are sexual but the understanding of the chorus and the words put together bring about a sexual message. There are also some songs that don't imply any sexual message whatsoever but are sexual. I do agree with Elisa that it is the rhythm and beat that makes it sexual. One of the songs that I really like and feel that has a sexual beat is "So fresh, So clean" by Outkast. I do not know the lyrics but maybe there are some sexual words or whatnot but the beat itself is very sexual!


Name:  Kathryn McMahon
Username:  superkatra@hotmail.com
Subject:  sex in the media
Date:  2002-11-21 17:02:20
Message Id:  3837
Comments:
Something we've been talking about in my Sex and Gender on Film class at Haverford is fetishistic scopophilia and the ACT OF LOOKING being a turn on as well as the actual thing being looked at. This is like sexual voyuerism. I think this means that our own engagement with the media can be a sexual act, and that perhaps the producers of media count on this as being where the "appeal" lies. When we interact with sex in the media, is it an experience of wanting to have the expeience in the image we see, either by being the image ourselves, or having the image? I'm sure we've all heard of this idea: in our heterosexist society, men are supposed to want the women they see and women are supposed to want to be the women they see. Men are rarely the objects of the gaze (and never intended for heterosexual men's gaze) because they are the ones who should be seeing and possessing (active traits). Women are the ones who should be seen and displayed (considered passive). When mainstream men's and women's magazines (and other forms of mass media) show women who have been socially determined to be attractive and to convey the ideal of women's appearance (i.e. light skinned/as white as possible, slender, etc.), they communicate this and the above engendering ideology to the public as the correct and most valued way of being male or female.
Also, a lot of women are stereotyped and fetishized in mass media, such as the portrayal of "exotic" (non-white) women as sexy/over sexxed, the infantilization of women, and the sexualization of children (i.e. Abercrombie and Fitch made a line of thong underwear that said things like "sexy" which was created for very little girls).
I wonder what feminist ads for consumer products would look like? Or would they need to exist at all in an egalitarian world that's not trying to reproduce hierarchies and communicate patriarcichal (sexist, rascist, classist, ageist, etc.) ideology through the media?
Name:  Anne Dalke
Username:  adalke@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  The Purpose of Publicity
Date:  2002-11-21 17:22:57
Message Id:  3838
Comments:


Here is John Berger's answer to Kathryn's question, "When we interact with sex in the media, is it an experience of wanting to have the expeience in the image we see, either by being the image ourselves, or having the image?" In Ways of Seeing Berger says,


"The purpose of publicity is to make the spectator marginally dissatisfied with his present way of life. Not with the way of life of society, but with his own within it. It suggests that if he buys what it is offering, his life will become better. It offers him an improved alternative to what he is....Publicity is addressed to those who constitute the market, to the spectator-buyer who is also the consumer-producer from whom profits are made twice over--as worker and then as buyer.

All publicity works upon anxiety. The sum of everything is money, to get money is to overcome anxiety. Alternatively the anxiety on which publicity plays is the fear that having nothing you will be nothing...money is the token of, and the key to, every human capacity. The power to spend money is the power to live.....

Publicity increasingly uses sexualtiy to sell any product or service. But this sexualtiy is never free in itself; it is a symbol for something presumed to be larger than it: the good life in which you can buy whatever you want. To be able to buy is the same thing as being sexually desirable....

For publicity the present is by definition insufficent...Its essential application is not to reality but to daydreams." (142-146)

Anne


Name:  HY
Username:  helyouss
Subject:  Media
Date:  2002-11-21 18:27:40
Message Id:  3839
Comments:
For those of you interested, Emily and I visited Athena with the collage and photograohs we used in class today. If you would like to take a closer look at what we found stop Thomas Great Hall and leave your own little offerring to our wise goddess!
Name:  Fritz Dubuisson
Username:  fdubuiss@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  sex and law
Date:  2002-11-22 01:42:01
Message Id:  3841
Comments:
In response to what the two Columbia students posted I think that the thought of marriage as legalized prostitution is still very conceivable in today's society. The legalization of same sex marriages does not mean that the participants receive the same benefits with the same amount of ease as others. When I was thinking of the term "legalized prostitution" the fact that there is a difference in the law and what is socially acceptable came into play. The road to theory works both ways. Even though we'd hate to admit it if a financially independent and powerful woman married a man of lesser means it would be assumed that he was being "kept" and receiving payment for services rendered. The spouse of such a woman is usually seen more as her pet than her spouse or significant other. In today's society it is all about money power and then sex. The person who makes the money has the power and can then dictate the sex.
Name:  Fritz Dubuisson
Username:  fdubuiss@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Sex and media
Date:  2002-11-22 01:53:27
Message Id:  3842
Comments:
I have mixed feelings about sex in the media. It seems as if they are all trying to sell you a prepackaged orgasm, one size fits all and it'll be worth it. I was talking about sex in the media way after the class and it came to me how so many things represent SEX to us, but a majority of what was brought was socially accepted views of Caucasian sexuality or at least what they ( who ever they are) think it should be. The sexiest picture I have ever seen has been in an interior decorating book. It was a picture of a beautiful cherry sleigh bed covered with pillows that were gold ,red and yellow. There was a claw foot bath tub near by bathed in sunlight. Between the colors , textures and the feel of the room, all you could think was "THIS IS SEX". It was intimate and pulled at your mind as well as you emotions.
Name:  Elisa
Username:  eespirit@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Sex and the Media
Date:  2002-11-22 16:19:56
Message Id:  3847
Comments:
I want to comment on why I was raising the questions I did in class today.
First off, my comments on the EXCLUSIVE nature of the media we were
presented with: I was attempting to press this issue because I think that
our class conversation was perpetuating a very exclusive view of media and
its contents. I was surprised that it had not been brought up earlier
that young, glamorous, able bodied, thin, white heterosexual people
permeated the majority of things we had brought in or viewed in class.

This then raises the question of how the media excludes:

-disabled people
-people of color
-gay people
-poor people
-any one that is a size 8 or above
-any one over the age of, say 30 or 40 years old

... from being perceived as sexual beings.

I was happy to see that after raising these problematic elements
surrounding the media, that our class discussion then steered its way into
talking about how the media uses sex as a tool to sell itself/ its
message/ a product.

However, at the end of class, when the Polaroids were presented containing
images of media found in the rooms of the students in our class, my
discomfort was raised again to a higher level.

I asked why a picture of my room wasn't taken. A lot of students in the
class thought I was asking this due to the fact that I was insulted
somehow, as if I felt my room was perceived as "not sensual or sexy." A
lot of people then said side comments to me such as "don't worry Elisa, I
think your room is very sensual." That was not the response I was trying
to raise or the question I was trying to have answered.

The response I got from the student leaders who were taking the pictures
was: "because we were taking pictures of things that were media in
people's rooms."

Now, and this is for those students, I noticed that the contents of the
pictures you took contained images of posters, magazine pages that had
been ripped out and tacked on a wall. If you were looking to take pictures
of "things in the media," why did you guys ask me if you could take a
picture of me and my friend lying in bed? This, my friends, is not media
according to the other pictures you took in other peoples rooms.
However, you were bold enough to ask if you could take a picture of us.
Why? Were you looking to suggest something sexually explicit? Did you
even realize that you would have been objectifying me as a sexual object
to our whole class? (which completely contradicts the sentiments
expressed in the article you posted for us to read)

Secondly, why wasn't a picture of my room taken to serve as an example of
someone in our class that does not choose to surround themselves with
(what you have defined as) media images?

For the class: One of the two students who was going around was pointing
out certain things to be photographed in my room that could be grouped
into a loose interpretation of what is "sex in the media." However, the
second student shook her head and rejected every one of her suggestions.
I assume that she considered the materials in my room were either a) not
considered media or b) not considered sexual. To this second student who
felt the need to reject the objects in my room, I urge you to expand and
redefine what you consider media and what you consider sexual, especially
considering how our class was defining media today.

I raise these questions not because I am offended that my things were not
the object of desire for you or your camera, but more out of
disappointment that you were working with such a narrow view of sexuality,
sensuality, and media, and what I interpreted as your unwillingness to
challenge and/ or expand that.


Name:  Kathryn McMahon
Username:  superkatra@hotmail.com
Subject:  Sex, power, and language
Date:  2002-11-22 16:58:08
Message Id:  3848
Comments:
Something Ive been thinking a lot about since Mary Conways visit is how language clues us in on the ideology of a culture. By naming something, we acknowledge its existence, which legitimizes the realness of it, and makes a place in culture for it. Ngoc mentioned that in Vietnam there arent terms for homosexuality, but it is understood to be wrong and taboo. People also turn a blind eye to the coffee houses and dont acknowledge what goes on there; they don't acknowledge a place of sexuality, or that of they people who go there.

Who names an idea, person, place or thing manifests a cultural bias against or in support of the named. Derogatory words are intended to offend and to distinguish the Other from the social ideal as defined by those in power. Racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, ageist, ablist, looksist, etc. terms are easy to come by if you are trying to insult an elderly, disabled, promiscuous, overweight, lesbian African American woman of low income, but theres nothing equally painful to draw on to insult a young, white, able, middle class, married, heterosexual man. Just as Ebonics wasnt taken seriously because it is the language of one specific demographic, anything else that confronts the language of the dominant paradigm is going to be attacked. Women, ethnic, racial, and sexual minorities dont have linguistic power at their disposal. In my opinion, even calling a group of people a minority belittles them by literally minimizing their concerns, issues, themselves, etc. They are in a minority, after all, is the attitude conveyed. In Freudian terms, non-whites, non-heterosexuals, and non-males have been castrated by the English language. They are lacking positive, self-defined words.

The non-technical words we have for body parts, functions and actions (i.e. sex) are lowbrow, impolite, derogatory, or contain a note of scandal. There is a hierarchy within the English language (and others) of what is permissible to discuss, and this keeps talk of the body out of polite (socially acceptable) conversation. The body and the physical arent as worthy of discussion as the mind and the abstract. The body and its doings are equated with vulgarity and obscenity. Since this is combined with patriarchical attitudes, is it any wonder why it is that we dont a) call women cocksuckers and b) call men sluts? These reversals of insults would imply that a) its unacceptable for a woman to orally pleasure a man, and b) that men do not deserve sexual freedom; ideas both very foreign to mainstream mentality. Reclaiming words and creating new ones are methods for asserting the ability to define and understand. But this means exerting power, which would mean cultural upheaval, which would unbalance the patriarchy. Too bad this hasnt happened to a greater degree!


Name:  Anne Dalke
Username:  adalke@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  More Thinking
Date:  2002-11-23 08:31:19
Message Id:  3852
Comments:
A couple of (early Saturday morning)thoughts:

--Sharon Burgmayer and I visited Athena yesterday evening (en route home from the provost's sherry hour) and were delighted to see my/her contribution to our collage @ her feet.

--Would those of you who took notes about "the definition of media" in class on Thursday please post those definitions? I found that exercise very helpful and would (as always) very much like to have it archived here.

--I'm particularly interested in having a record of those definitions, because I think they work as excellent framing devices for the questions Elisa raised in class and then again in her posting, about what counts both as "media" and as "sexual." HY and Emily's going exploring late Wednesday night for "images of sex in the media" in people's room was entirely w/in the exploratory nature of this class, and I applaud them for doing so. As in all explorations, all emergent systems, going looking in this way means, inevitably, that you'll end up questioning, and then revising, the categories which impelled you in the first place. And this questioning has EVERYTHING to do w/ the themes of this course: sex, language, sex-in-language, sex-as-language. To capture images of how sex in the media is used in people's rooms is only the initial, data-gathering aspect of the project; to interpret those images--to consider, for instance, as Risa suggested, that they may be ironic--is an essential second step. To ask, as Elisa asks above, what the operative definition of sexual and of media was--both going into the foray and coming out of it--are essential third and fourth steps. Are lace curtains and beautiful quilts "media," or evidence of the absence of the need for sexualized media? Are friends in bed together media, or evidence of the absence of the need for media? I'd very much like to hear Emily and HY--but also of course everyone else engaged in this course--speak to these queries.

Thank you all, for keeping me thinking--and not just about sex.

Anne


Name:  Lindsay Hills
Username:  lhills@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  ...After these Messages.
Date:  2002-11-23 14:40:17
Message Id:  3855
Comments:
Sex and the Media.

Definition of Media: (as best recalled from my group) Something that is created in order to inspire, encourage, or inform a very large populus (uncountable), which may be replicated, and as a work has an expiration point (could still be reffered to in the past, but not with same meaning).

I also wanted to pose my thoughts about the discussion that was had on thursday. I think i was diappointed with the selections that were chosen to show sex in the media as far as the movie (boys don't cry) exerpt and music video (madonna vogue)were concerned.

Though the seen from the movie was interesting. I would have liked to talk more about how sex is portrayed in the media, the scene is an example of how unimportant ones sexual orientation/gender is but yet it was expressed that it was chosen because it wasn't the norm. I think it would have been more interesting to talk about the music, the cinematography effects of the orgasm, the noises made, the eyes rolling back in the head, all those things that media is able to use in order to glorify (not sure if thats the word i want) the physical act of sex. I think the "girl talk" part of the clip was so extremely relevant to the class, that i wish we could have talked about the woman's choice not to tell her friends v. spilling all the details.

The music video choice i found slightly problematic. The video itself i didn't find that sexy at all. I think that the elements of "sex" that i saw when i did watch it, were more or less me putting the sex into the clip. Madonna has been idolized as a sexual icon. The iconization that she has gone through and the sexiness which has become her, i felt tainted the experience. Was this video sexy because it was just sexy or was this video sexy because Madonna, who is now built up into the paragon of a sexual being, is in the video?

The idea of what is sex in the media is interesting...because it is such a topic of debate, whats appropriate for prime time v. family time television. How are those lines created? are they blurrier then we think? i remeber asking my father once the difference between a PG-13 movie and an R movie, and i remember him replying quite calmly "a nipple." Is that the line that is drawn between adult content and child content? This then begins to question the explicit v. implicit sex in the media. For example in lion king when the lions are roughhousing in the dust, and the dust clouds spell out s-e-x.


Name:  Lindsay U
Username:  lupdegro@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  sex in the media
Date:  2002-11-24 16:01:14
Message Id:  3861
Comments:
Something I don't think was addressed in class...

My biggest issue with sex in the media is that 99% of it is portrayed as so flawless; the heterosexual ideal. Somehow, in every cinematic romantic coupling, the people having sex are so incredibly sexually compatible that each love scene resolves with both parties having the perfect orgasm--simultaneously, of course. Even in the clip of Boys Don't Cry that we watched in class, the (I'm blanking on the actress' name) blonde woman looks like that one climax is the best experience of her life. That's great- maybe the audience of America likes to experience a kind of fantasy in scenes like this- but I wonder what percentage of the audience can actually relate to such flawless sex? Where are the painful little mistakes, the frustrations, the small failures that real life sex presents? Certainly not in the movies. The media is pretty powerful when it comes to sex- it is pretty much the only time we can actually watch other people engaging in intimate activity without being an intruder or paying a lot of money. I think a large part of the population has a sexual ideal that pretty much matches up to what is portrayed in the movies. So then what they do in bed becomes a "performance." God forbid a guy can't "perform" like Brad Pitt...or Hilary Swank for that matter.

I guess what I'm asking is, wouldn't people be a little happier with their sex lives if the media were more honest about how sex really is?


Name:  Deborah
Username:  dsosower@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  sex in the media
Date:  2002-11-24 19:29:01
Message Id:  3863
Comments:
the definition that our group came up with:
Media--> a culturally defined means of communication which has the capacity to reach a large # of people and/or cross from one community to another; the "middle-man" between an idea/product and the consumer/audience
It was really funny for me this weekend, thinking about our class on thursday, because I went into abercrombie and saw a)their winter catalogue, which had the word "SEX" in bold writing and had a basically nude female (white young) model covered only by the plastic stars of the overlay. You had to be 18 to buy it! Also, the second thing I saw there was a picture of a male model in a&f jeans, naked except for low-slung and partially unbuttoned jeans, running towards the camera, but he had a cast on his left arm! So, there's your token disabled sexual model.
Name:  Deborah
Username:  dsosower@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  my CDs
Date:  2002-11-24 19:33:53
Message Id:  3864
Comments:
Hey all,
I apologise for not posting this before, i've been meaning to!!! Here are the song lists for my two Thinking Sex CDs! I hope you all enjoyed the music...i really enjoyed compiling it. The blanket will be sewn soon! We'll all have to decide where to display it....perhaps in that class room on the left hand wall (when you walk in)?

CD 1: Ocean Surf
1. Ocean Surf
2. No Sex in the Champagne Room 12Chris Rock
3. Vagina Song 12Monty Python
4. Fuck her Gently 12Tenacious D
5. Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me 12Rocky Horror
6. Pretty Piece of Flesh 12One Inch Punch
7. Pretty when you're Drunk
8. Get Ur Freak On (remix) 12Missy Elliot
9. Peaches n Cream (remix) 12112
10.I Wanna Lick You 12Ludacris
11.Shoop 12Salt n Peppa
12.Sexual Healing 12Marvin Gaye
13.Crush 12DMB
14.Make Love to You 12Bad Company
15.All My Love 12Led Zeppelin
16.More then Words 12Extreme
17.I'll make Love to You 12Boys2Men
18.Piya Re 12Nusrah Fatah Ali Khan
19. Ocean Surf

Thinking Sex CD 2: Thunderstorm
1. Thunderstorm
2. Night and Day 12Ella Fitzgerald
3. Shave 'Em Dry 12Lucille Bogan
4. Fever 12Peggy Lee
5. Come & get your Love 12Redbone
6. Cecilia 12Simon & Garfunkle
7. I Touch Myself 12The Divinyls
8. Mouth 12Merril Bainbridge
9. Your Body is a Wonderland12John Mayer
10.Sexual Healing 12Ben Harper
11.Leather 12Tori Amos
12.Tu 12Sarah Brightman
13.Feelin' Love 12Paula Cole
14.Debra 12Beck
15.Sin wagon 12Dixie Chicks
16.Turn Me On 12Norah Jones
17.Besame Mucho 12Cesaria Evora
18.Take our Time 12TLC
19.Any time, any Place 12Janet Jackson
20.Thunderstorm

If anyone would like copies of either of these CDs, I'd be happy to make them for you! Just email me or let me know in class! See everyone on the morrow!


Name:  sheri
Username:  sfernand@bmc
Subject:  Poem
Date:  2002-11-24 23:45:45
Message Id:  3870
Comments:
To me sex and love belong together. In my opinion, strongly based on being a catholic, sex is nothing without love. I've been looking for this for a while and I finally found it.

And if I have prophetoc powers,
And understand all mystics and all knowledge,
And if I have all faith so as to move mountains but have no love I am nothing

1 corith, 13, 2 (letters of Paul)
for anyone who has time, the whole reading really is beautiful. Here Paul isn't really talkning about the love between lovers, but hey, it works.


Name:  Iris Dickerson
Username:  idickers@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  talking about sex
Date:  2002-11-25 00:03:02
Message Id:  3871
Comments:
although this isn't a sexual joke i think it plays off the need for humans to talk about experiences, period. it deffinately transfers, in my opinion, over into our need to talk to other people about sex.

Priestly Duties

One Sunday morning, a priest wakes up and decides to go golfing. He calls his boss and says that he feels very sick, and won't be able to go to work.
Way up in heaven, Saint Peter sees all this and asks God, ''Are you really going to let him get away with this?''

''No, I guess not,'' says God.

The priest drives about five to six hours away, so he doesn't bump into anyone he knows. The golf course is empty when he gets there. So he takes his first swing, drives the ball 495 yards away and gets a hole in one.

Saint Peter watches in disbelief and asks, '' Why did you let him do that?''

To this God says, ''Who's he going to tell?''


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