Thursday, April 26, 2012

Moral Relativism Al Dente

I don't believe in any universal moral code - like, anyone who has gay sex is going to hell. If you don't like gay sex, that's fine for you. What a gay man does with other gay men, however, is entirely their own business. But opponents of moral relativism often complain that if all morals are relative, then what stops me from killing you for personal gain? This is really a strawman argument, because none but the radical extremists of moral relativism are suggesting that everyone's motives are justified by the doctrine of individual morality. That's really where ethics comes into play - regardless of what your and my morals are, we each have the potential to behave in ways that violate the agency and the humanity and the consent of each other. It's not what's right in a universal sense, it's what does and does not violate the rights of you or I.

So, for example, could murder ever be justified? What about corporal punishment? What about assisted suicide? What about people who don't value life as highly as the rest of us - people who, say, are fully willing to risk their lives for the thrill of extreme sports? Murder is "wrong" because it involves taking a person's life against their will. But if they hand their life over, then that's their decision to make. I'm not arguing that we shouldn't look out for each other's wellbeing, or that people never make bad decisions about their lives and even about what they want or think they want. But when it comes to taking a hard black-and-white stance on issues of morality - believing that this or that type of act is ALWAYS wrong and NEVER justified - we really need to step back and understand that not everyone's experience of the world is the same.

That's the substance of moral relativism al dente. Individuals may have their own unique moral codes, but each of us is connected to the rest of us, and the decisions we make and the actions we take affect the rest of the population. The result is a sort of interwoven mesh of morality, where each thread is pliable, but not entirely separate from the other threads. We must be flexible in determining how to apply our concept of morality to other persons who may have differing views, but this does not mean that anything goes. It's not a hard stance on universal morality, but neither does it lend complete freedom to people to do anything they want without consequence. I believe this is what most people who defend moral relativism are suggesting, but perhaps describing it as moral relativism al dente would help get across that point.

Note: The title of this post was totally ripped off from Derk Pereboom's Determinism Al Dente, the philosophy text that convinced me that free will is compatible with determinism.

Preventing Teen Pregnancy

I was checking out this season's hip swimwear fashions in Seventeen magazine, when I saw an ad notifying me that May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Now, I'm not very fond of the idea of teen pregnancy. Then again, I'm not very fond of the idea of pregnancy in general. The idea of bearing offspring, in which I can preserve my genes, is intriguing, but I've more or less decided that I don't want to curse another generation with the genes I have. Moreover, I have no desire whatsoever to put in the massive effort that's required to raise a kid (let alone more than one). But I also realize that other people have different opinions (not to mention skills and resources) than me on that.

So it occurs to me that there's something a little odd about a national movement to prevent anyone's pregnancy. You really have to ask the question: who's getting pregnant? And are they doing it intentionally? I think it's widely believed that teens who get pregnant didn't really want to, they just weren't properly educated about contraception, or were too lazy to put forth the effort, or weren't expecting to become sexually active, without realizing what fate (and their or their peers' hormones) had in store for them. Certainly, the solution to this problem is more education, that is more easily accessible, and to kids of all ages (better too soon than too late).

But what about teens who want to get pregnant? After all, it's as much a biological impetus as the powerful impetus teens have to become sexually active in the first place (at the risk of sounding sexist: possibly more so for girls than for guys). Personally, I would advise against a person choosing to have a baby until they have the means to care for one (which, ideally, requires a sturdy home and a stable income, not to mention other skills required to navigate the pitfalls of modern life). After all, it's plain irresponsible to have a kid if you don't have the means (and certainly if you don't have the intention - that applies to guys as much as to girls) to care for one.

Now, in the modern age, we have this conception of childhood which extends until age 18 or 22, in which a kid doesn't grow up until he/she's graduated high school, maybe even attended college, and only then is expected to get a job and become an "adult". We can argue the merits of this system of extended childhood (I've certainly read about its faults), but whether good or bad, ultimately, it's just one possible life plan, and not the only one that's valid or even necessarily commendable. So I would hope that every teen considers their unique position, before deciding whether or not to have a child, but I wouldn't expect every single one to properly come to the decision to wait.

But, then you'll have teens (and this problem certainly isn't limited to teens) who decide to have a kid for selfish or immature reasons. They'll want a kid despite not having the means to care for it. What do we do in these cases? Naturally we fear that the baby will either suffer, or will require the resources of secondary caregivers (like the teen's parents, perhaps), who, irresponsibly, weren't in (or whose opinions weren't given proper weight) on the decision to have the baby in the first place. Those cases are inevitably going to be more complex, and the source of the problem is likely going to involve complicated social factors. I have read, for example, that one possible motivation for a teen to get pregnant is that it is a solution to the conundrum that so many teens face - that of desiring adult responsibility while still being treated like a child. Having a baby is like an instant "grow up" card - and, after all, if parents are the ones with all the power, then to acquire power, one needs only to become a parent. Right?

Regardless of the causes and the issues involved, the 'solution' isn't going to be easy. Education is certainly important. Teens are going to want to become sexually active, and I don't see any good reason to combat that. All the "wait until you're older" programs I've seen carry too much moral baggage which contributes to the stigmatization of sexuality that cripples our culture's ability to deal honestly with our sexual natures (and obstructs our journey to discovering pleasure). Information about safe sex practices is all the more important, then. Teens (and younger kids - waiting leads to accidents) need to know their options, and how important it is that they use them.

This still isn't going to convince all teens to hold off on pregnancy, or to keep them from getting pregnant unintentionally. So we also need to make sure that we have systems in place to help those teens who do get pregnant - help them to make the right decisions, which isn't necessarily to avoid having the baby in the first place, but to do what's best for all the people involved (baby included - even if, maybe, that means sparing the baby a troubled, loveless life, in specific instances). But ultimately, stigmatizing teens who get pregnant isn't going to solve any problems, and I can only see it contributing to the problems that already exist. I've never seen a case where stigmatization accomplished anything productive, other than to stroke the ego and sate the moral complexes of those wielding power irresponsibly over others.

And if we care at all about individual choice - which is the foundation of liberty and diversity - then we must first ask the question, "what do you want"? And then the next question should be, "what can we do to help?" With the intention of making it work out best for everyone involved, taking into account their unique needs and desires (which, for a teen, may include 'having a baby').

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sex, Gender, Orientation

I have spent all morning thinking about sex, gender, and orientation (and now all afternoon writing about it :p). It started with catching up on episode 3 of the web documentary SSEX BBOX [sexuality out of the box], which is a fascinatingly progressive look at the issues involved with sexuality in modern culture. I am really excited about this project, and the three episodes they've released so far have all impressed me. I can't wait for the whole thing to be finished and released, hopefully together in a single full-length format. That'll be something to bookmark and show off to your friends, family and colleagues.

So I was on SSEX BBOX's website, and I saw an ad for their magazine, and I followed a link to a page with a little treatise on gender (scroll down to where it says "Gender is a Text Field"), that got me thinking about the very same issue that came up when I was presented with an option to select my gender on facebook, a long time ago. I felt that the options - either M or F - were wildly limiting, and I didn't feel comfortable picking each one (because society views me as an M, but I identify more with F, and the reality is that I'm probably something that can't even be conceptualized within the narrow-minded box of the M/F gender binary).

And that treatise led me to a little thing called Yay genderform! which allows you to select, via literally hundreds of check boxes, any and all (or none) labels that you feel you identify with (you can even make up your own!), and then creates a neat little name label for you to copy and paste on your blog or wherever. It's not perfect, but it's surely a huge step above "M or F". And the best thing is, it gets you thinking about sex and gender and orientation, and asking questions. I spent most of the morning researching labels I wasn't familiar with, to learn what they mean, and it was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about all the little subcultures in the field of human sexuality that often go overlooked.

I also came, via the hosting website, to an introduction to SGO (the very first part, with the three separate lines of continuum, is the most interesting), which emphasizes a point that I've long been aware of, but frequently goes overlooked in mainstream, noncritical discussions of sexuality. Specifically, that sex (your biological/physical body), gender (your mental/psychological identity), and orientation (what sex/gender/anything else you're sexually attracted to) are independent components. The heteronormative standard presumes that everyone is cisgendered (that is, men are men and women are women, or sex always equals gender), and that men are attracted to women and vice versa. Even when you throw homosexuality into the mix, you're talking about a person's sexuality (gay vs. straight) as a property that identifies both your sex/gender and the sex/gender of the people you're attracted to. It tries to say too much at once!

In my mind, this begs the question of whether a straight man and a straight woman have more in common because they're both heterosexual (that is, opposite sex oriented), or if a straight man and a gay woman have more in common because they're both attracted to women. It's a subject/object duality. Is there something fundamentally different between the functions of hetero and homosexuality, or is it just people (of various sexes and genders) being attracted to other people (of various sexes and genders)? Obviously, a straight man is not going to be the same as a lesbian, but can they not share notes about what they like about women?

But then, when you throw in the concept of transgenderism, especially as a notion of gender identities above and beyond the limiting male/female binary, and not just as a term for men trapped in women's bodies and women trapped in men's bodies, the whole gay/straight dynamic begins to get a little fuzzy. If you have a man's body, but you identify as female, and you're attracted to females, does that make you straight, because your body is male, or does it make you gay because you identify as a woman? If you're a man, and you're attracted to women, are you more attracted to their sex (do masculine women still turn you on?) or their gender (do feminine men also tickle your fancy?), or both (only feminine women interest you)? I don't think there's a clear cut answer, and I think the solution is to move away from terms like gay and straight which presuppose, as I said above, both your sex/gender and the sex/gender of the persons you're attracted to. Instead, we ought to separate the concepts of sex and gender, both from your orientation, and from each other.

That way, you'll have three independent components that can be defined separately. One is your sex, another is your gender, and the third is your orientation, which could be towards a sex or gender or any combination of things. And neither one will imply something about any of the others. Perhaps the majority of people will end up with a certain pattern (like having a matching sex and gender, and a clear cut orientation either for the opposite, same, or both sexes), but for the rest of us minorities, we'll have a clearer opportunity to describe our difference from the assumed norm, which is literally impossible when you're presented with a box asking for your sex AND gender (naively assuming they're the same), giving you an opportunity to choose only ONE answer, and only between two possibilities that may or may not describe you to some or any extent. And that's not even going into the issue of your orientation, which may be far more complicated (or specific) than simply "attracted to men", "attracted to women", or "attracted to men and women".

Without further ado, here is my personal genderlabel, as produced by the site linked above. As I said, it's not perfect, but it's very enlightening, and gives you a whole lot more information about the kind of person I am than any silly little M or F.

Click the image to get to the form. I enthusiastically encourage you to try filling it out for yourself! And don't be afraid to research some of the terms you're not familiar with, you never know what you'll learn! By the way, these terms are not strictly limited to sex, gender, and orientation, but also apply to qualities such as presentation, appearance, societal roles, personality, etc., so bear that in mind. If you're curious about any of the terms on my list, or why I put them there, feel free to ask me! And have fun with it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Objectification From Another Angle

I had a revelation about the concept of objectification today. I've long been critical of the concept, because it seems to imply that viewing a person as the object of one's sexual desires is bad somehow, when in reality it's a natural and unavoidable aspect of human sexuality. I've always maintained (and still do) that viewing someone as a sex object does NOT preclude you from viewing them as a human being ALSO, whether sequentially (as in, during sex vs. before and after sex) or even simultaneously (in other words, it's not always either sex object or human being; it can also be sex object and human being).

Because honestly, how many people (and yes, I'm sure there are a few) are so focused on their sexual desires that they ACTUALLY treat people like sex objects and not human beings? I understand that it probably happens in limited instances, like when a man whistles at a woman walking down the street - he's treating her like a sex object, and not a human being, else he'd probably behave more politely. But even in these instances, it's a limited situation, and the moment passes and the man doing the "objectifying" has not so completely forgotten the humanity of the woman he's whistling at that he'd suddenly walk over to her and rape her. (It may be the case that a lot of women fear this, but the truth is that most of these situations do NOT end in rape).

Anyway, I've also maintained that there are polite and impolite ways to express one's sexuality - and that extends to objectification. Whistling at a woman may be impolite, whereas keeping your thoughts to yourself (while still allowing yourself to have them) might be more polite. On the other hand, maybe some women don't mind being whistled at, or even view it as a compliment. These things can be subjective, and much conflict in the world arises simply from misunderstandings and differences in cultural (and subcultural) behaviors.

But today I got to thinking. I look at lots of pictures of girls on the internet, and interact with very few of them in real life. This is only because I was born with a very low aptitude for social interaction. But I realized that I look at pictures because it gives me an opportunity to get up close and admire girls, without having to endure interacting with them, and/or risk rejection (either because they're not interested in hanging out with me, or else they think it's rude or creepy to stare from afar). Because I'm not a social butterfly, and even in social situations, I'm very quiet and don't talk much. I like looking, but not talking, though I realize that sort of behavior probably makes most people uncomfortable. And so I do my looking online, where the object of my gaze can't tell I'm looking, and doesn't have the opportunity to feel uncomfortable. I'm doing them a favor, really.

Of course, I'd like to interact with girls more in real life, but I'd have to get over my own limitations as a socialite first. But it occurs to me that by avoiding interacting with girls, and enabling myself to admire them indirectly online, I may actually be contributing to their objectification. When you look at a picture, you don't really have an opportunity to engage with the person in it (unless he/she is the one showing it to you). You look at her, rate her physical attractiveness, and move on. Now I don't know if this necessarily means you're training yourself to look at people as sex objects without thinking about them as humans, but that certainly seems to be what's occurring when you look at pictures disconnectedly online.

Now I still believe there's nothing inherently wrong with this. As an erotic model myself, I certainly wouldn't want to take the time to get to know every person who finds me attractive. And I wouldn't want to deny any person the opportunity of admiring my erotic beauty just because they haven't had the opportunity to get to know me first. But, were the opportunity available (and my confidence not lacking), I would absolutely interact with the girls in the pictures I see online more as people.

One of the things I long for is to find one of these hot girls that turns up in pictures, in an environment where I can actually get to know her as a person. But on social networking sites where this is possible, it's frequently the case that girls are all uptight about people looking at their pictures that way, and there's this cultural expectation of creepiness when you start paying attention to someone online because they're attractive (commonly referred to as "stalking"). And even if you do it politely, to separate yourself from the real creeps and stalkers, there's still that fear in the back of your mind, "should I be doing this?" And so to avoid any misunderstandings (and the potential complications that could arise), I actually go out of my way to avoid interacting with the girls in the pictures I view online, in the rare case that they're not completely anonymous (which I think the vast majority of them are). And that feeds into my tendency toward social reclusion; certainly, it doesn't help me learn how to interact with girls.

I don't know that there's a point or a moral or a solution to be uncovered in this discussion. But it's certainly worth thinking about. It troubles me that I might be objectifying girls, but not because I think there's anything wrong with viewing them as objects of my sexual desire. It's only because I don't feel like there's enough of a balance between that and actually getting to know them as people. But it's not because I don't WANT to get to know them as people, that I don't WANT to view them as anything other than human beings, or that I get some sort of thrill out of intentionally denying their humanity and treating them like they have no worth BEYOND their sexual appeal (except maybe in some of my harmless fantasies). For me, it's a matter of unfortunate circumstance.

But maybe that's a good reason for me to try to work harder to tip that balance. I realize now that I probably don't have many girls in my actual life (including girls that like me and respect me and beg for me to take their picture) because I never spend any time talking to girls, or getting to know them. As much as I might grovel at the feet of a goddess, she'd probably be more flattered if I actually took an interest in her life and her hobbies - a sincere interest, not one that's forced, with the expectation of a sexy return.

And when I think about it, I talk a lot about treating people as sex objects AND human beings. But perhaps I don't spend enough time actually practicing that, especially the part about treating someone you're sexually attracted to as a fully-rounded human being. Though again, for me, it's not that I don't want or wouldn't like to, it's that my nature puts me at a disadvantage from interacting with people socially in general (whether I'm sexually attracted to them or not).

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thoughts on Beauty Pageants

I got to thinking about beauty pageants while out walking today, and I decided to record my stream of consciousness:

I'm generally not a fan of beauty pageants, largely because the beauty on display is so artificial. (To be honest, I'm not a fan of popularity contests in general, because they cater to the majority. But on a related note, here's an excellent movie recommendation: Little Miss Sunshine). But nudist beauty pageants are a little different, as their emphasis is on natural beauty. But the history of beauty pageants in the international nudist community is not free from controversy. My own feelings are mixed.

On the one hand, as a nudist, I believe that people should not be judged by their appearance, and it is this belief that leads many nudists to reject the [arguably out-dated] tradition of nudist beauty pageants, which can be said to reflect the overly judgmental mindset of the ultra-critical (and often sex-obsessed) textile world.

On the other hand, as an aesthetic artist, I like to admire beauty, and it is a natural fact that I will find some bodies more beautiful than others (that's the truth about beauty). And I'm not ashamed to admit that. Of course, beauty is not the SOLE measure of a person's worth, and beauty itself can be highly subjective. In fact, it's surprising how much one person's idea of beauty can differ from another's.

So, what happens during a beauty pageant is that one or more persons who has the most popular form of beauty will be awarded, while the others are showered with the shame of losing. Personally, I think we should continue to admire beauty, but eliminate the element of competition.

While it's true that competition can inspire a person to achieve greater heights, how much of our appearance can we actually take credit for (sans wardrobe and makeup, of course)? Exercising and working out, maybe. But some people are much luckier than others, requiring significantly less effort to look attractive (and in different stages of their life). Should we award them for that, beyond the award of being attractive that they already possess?

Perhaps we could have an athletic competition, to encourage a fit and healthy lifestyle, while keeping the admiration of beauty as a component of the games' attraction. The athletics could be a competition (or not, does it really have to be?), and the beauty would just be there to admire. It would perhaps be not unlike the ancient Greek Olympics where athletes would train naked, and their naked, chiseled bodies were a source of pride and admiration.

The only difference, I suppose, from a regular day at the nudist resort, where games are scheduled, is that people will be encouraged and not discouraged from admiring the bodies of others (I would hope, also, that this emphasis on appearance would, in the long run, bring in a more visually appealing demographic). But that's something I think a lot of nudists fear. Funny, that nudists are comfortable with traditionally "ugly" bodies, but they're terrified of beautiful ones, because they don't know what to do with them, how their presence fits in with their "all bodies welcome" philosophy (ironically).

And it is an irony, also, that the majority of nudists, at least in my experience, are not especially physically attractive (although that may be true of the population at large). Perhaps the nudist environment is a sanctuary for them, where, unlike everywhere else, they don't have to feel inferior for being unattractive.

How can we make ugly people feel welcome, while simultaneously recognizing the joy of beauty? Is it not possible? Because that would be a shame. I would love to live in a world where people take pride in their appearance, and the beautiful are allowed to show off (ALL of their bodies). But I don't want "ugly" people to feel inferior as a result. My approach is to say that if you don't have beauty, then enjoy the beauty of others, and find the other qualities that make you an interesting person. But don't disparage people who are beautiful. How is that any different than people criticizing you for being ugly?

I would hate to see nudist resorts and nudist culture turn into a sort of "ugly bodies haven". Part of the appeal of nudity (not all of it, by a long stretch, but an important part nonetheless) is admiring attractive bodies. I'm not going to give that up in order to adhere to an ultra PC nudist philosophy. It's not what nudity is ALL about, and most of nudism is separate from that, but just because I'm a nudist, or engaged in nudism, doesn't mean I'm willing to give up that other part of the appeal of nudity. For me, it doesn't have to be either/or, it can be both. And it's best when it's both.

How's this as an idea for evening the odds? Beautiful people should have a social obligation (not legal, so they aren't required, but social, so they'll be open to criticism if they decline - sort of like how celebrities have less expectation of privacy in their lives, within reason of course) to display themselves, for example by participating in these games. That way, ugly people could get the benefit of admiring beautiful people, and they would have the added privilege of being able to sit out of the games. They'd be privileged, not disadvantaged, by their lack of beauty.

It's really a shame that so many people (in the default, textile world) hide their bodies. How do you even know what body types exist (let alone which you're attracted to) if you've only seen a small fraction of them?

So in conclusion, I don't think nudist beauty pageants should be eliminated completely, but they SHOULD be replaced with a less competitive version - a nudist olympics, if you will - where people of various ages engage in athletics in front of spectators, and bodies are showcased, but not voted on. And, of course, photography would be explicitly PERMITTED, though I don't think many nudists (in my neck of the woods, at least) would be willing to agree with me on that one.

tl;dr - Beauty should be a celebration, not a competition.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Note on "Feminist" Porn

I was reading a handful of blog posts (a not infrequent pastime for me) about issues relating to prostitution (sex work vs. sex slavery) and the whole sex-positive vs. anti-porn feminist dichotomy, and one comment on one of those posts articulated a point that always crosses my mind when I hear people talking about "ethical pornography", especially with regard to its content.

The issue in question is related to the subject of "feminist porn", in the context of it being some sort of remedy to traditional porn which is often criticized (in some feminist circles) as being degrading to women and all that jazz. Now the first thing I think when someone talks about the merits of lesbian for lesbian porn, or trans-porn, or any combination of alternative porn scenarios, is, what about the people who like good old-fashioned man on woman porn? As far as porn goes, I like to see men and women having sex with each other. Doesn't mean I buy into patriarchy and women as disposable objects and all of that - I'd just like some confirmation that you don't have to be queer in your sexual tastes in order to be a socially conscious porn consumer.

Another issue is that of beauty. I've heard arguments about how women are objectified when their value is judged based on their physical appearance. I don't judge women based solely on their physical appearance, but I'm not going to pretend that I'm not sexually attracted to beautiful feminine specimens. The badge of "I don't objectify women" is not worth giving up my sex drive, and moreover, wearing it is not required to treat women with respect. I live by the belief that you can be sexually attracted to women (and show it) and still respect them. And, therefore, I'm in no hurry to see a change-over in the porn industry where beautiful women are replaced by less beautiful women (it happens in Hollywood and advertising everywhere, not just in porn, and it happens for a reason - beautiful people are nice to look at). I know it's harsh that not all persons are equally attractive, but it's the truth - and anyway, people have different standards, so if you're not attractive by one standard, it doesn't mean you're not beautiful by another.

Lastly, there is the dramatic content of porn, and the question of its ethics. A lot of people argue that certain types of porn - like porn featuring rape and domination of women and partialism and things of that sort - are inherently degrading to women and/or are not ethical in terms of having a good, feminist, social consciousness. But what the comment that inspired my post here reinforces (and I do recommend you read that comment, here), is that people really do get off on some "disturbing" stuff sometimes. And it doesn't mean they do that stuff in real life (rape fantasies are very popular, for example, but do not indicate that a person is a rapist, or wants to be, or would even enjoy it if they did it). And as much as we might talk about how great porn would be if it were all sunshine-and-rainbows, I'm sure the BDSM community would agree that sunshine-and-rainbows sex isn't always the sex we're looking for, and it isn't always the sex that turns us on. But more importantly, that fact doesn't mean that we're bad people, or that we have a poor code of ethics, or that we're interested in actually degrading people and acting sexist and whatnot outside of our fantasies and our carefully constructed sexual scenarios.

The bottom line of all of this, and the thing I feel the urge to express every time I hear someone talk about how porn can be "problematic", is that we can discuss the merits of different kinds of porn and the effects it has on people specifically, and society as a whole, but we ought to be careful not to advocate any form of censorship of certain types of material on the basis of it being deemed offensive (to me or you or him or her), or start suggesting that certain sexual ideas are better or worse than others, without differentiating feelings and fantasies and turn-ons from the beliefs we hold and the actions we engage in (hopefully with responsibility) in our lives.

In other words, looking at pictures of traditionally beautiful women, and (perhaps) watching them being raped (staged, only) doesn't make me into the kind of person who treats women poorly and with disrespect. And so, if that's my sexual fantasy (actually, I don't like rape much, but I'm not above using it here as an example), I ought to be able to indulge in it, and feel good about indulging in it, provided I know the limits of fantasy and acting (which is my responsibility to learn, not yours to regulate), and that's the bottom line. I agree, also, that I prefer my porn to be ethically produced by someone or some company with a social consciousness (and that, too, is worthy of discussion), however the content of that porn ought to be as disgusting or as depraved as is required to get me turned on.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Standards of Universality

I don't require the whole world to be like me. I only demand that I be given the opportunity to carve out a little piece of it where I can live the way I want to.

And having universal standards - like, you can't be naked in public, or only women are allowed to wear dresses, or sex must absolutely be kept behind closed doors at all times - gets in the way of that. It gets in the way of freedom.

The only thing that matters is whether the people living under those standards want to. And the irony is that you might argue that no decent person could want to live under those standards voluntarily, but where is your concern for people like me who are being forced to live under YOUR standards involuntarily? Where is my rescue squad?

You don't really care about the people you want to "help", you only care that they live the way you want them to. As soon as we start saying that people have to like this or live like that, we are silencing people's voices who don't agree, and shoving words in their mouths to suit our agenda.

And it doesn't make a difference whether we're speaking for persons of a certain race/nationality, a certain sex/gender, or even a certain age. In each case we're disregarding their own voices, as individuals and not as demographics. We're putting words in their mouths, and if they don't say what we want them to say, we rationalize it away, saying that they've been deceived, or that they don't know what's good for them, and that we know better.

I don't want the whole world to live the way I do, I just want people to give me a chance to find a niche where I CAN live the way I want, with others like me, in peace. Peace, not conflict. And the notion of universal standards, that we raise people to adopt, bars that from happening.

Think tolerance, and diversity. Not intolerance and conformity.

Prostitution Rhetoric

Better people have written better pieces about all the (many) things that are wrong with the way the moral majority speaks (uneducatedly) about prostitution, so this will hardly be robust or comprehensive, but I wanted to express a few personal thoughts I had about what's wrong with a specific piece of rhetoric that I read in a recent article (which is otherwise very good - it's concerning how easily even the 'good guys' can slip and feed into the dominant paradigm a little bit here and there, possibly without realizing it).

Here's the phrase that caught my attention:

"statistics which point to most prostitutes being abused early in life"

And here are my thoughts:

Where do you get these statistics and how were they acquired? Are they reliable?

When you say "abused early in life", do you mean physical abuse or sexual abuse? If the latter, do you mean rape, or sexual experimentation beyond what abstinence advocates and prudes consider "appropriate" for children? Remember that all sexual activity below the age of consent is legally (and often morally) defined as abuse.

Are you drawing a line of causation between "early abuse" and prostitution when there may only be correlation? Are you suggesting that abuse leads to prostitution? Are you suggesting that prostitution is related to abuse in a fundamental manner? That prostitution is a form of further abuse? That prostitution is a symptom of abuse, and should be treated as such? Do you realize how this marginalizes prostitutes who have not been abused and do not view their work as abuse?

This kind of thinking is majoritive, as it seeks to punish all prostitutes and all forms of prostitution for an interpretable statistic that feeds into an ideological worldview that views prostitution as an evil vice. Is there not any room in this world for people who have an alternative worldview, or do they just have to shut up and secede to the demands of the moral majority for the good of mankind? Without hard evidence that prostitution actually facilitates rape and ruins people's lives and decays the moral fabric of society?

And if it's the case that persons exposed to more sexuality earlier in life (defined as, but not necessarily, "abuse") end up being more sexually involved later in life, and adopt alternative views towards sexuality (like the belief that prostitution is a valid profession) - which is not hard to imagine - then why is this cause for alarm? Except in the context of having people in the world not brainwashed by the moral majority view that prostitution is bad, and that sex is evil unless engaged in in whatever certain form your ideology permits (e.g., with a married partner). Is there no room for variety when it comes to the morality of sex? I sure as hell think there should be.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Q: Why do you post sexy pictures on the internet?

Following are the reasons why I post sexy pictures of myself on the internet:

* I like feeling desired, and I like being made to feel attractive.

* I like to perv over pictures of girls on the internet, but I have a guilt complex due to feminist brainwashing, and so as a result, I feel like it's only fair that I put my own body on the market, so I know what it feels like for girls to be perved on, and so that I know I'm not expecting of them anything I myself wouldn't be willing to do, or couldn't handle.

* I have a fascination for erotic photography, and while I'd prefer to take pictures of girls (because I'm attracted to girls), I'm a bit of a social recluse, so compromising on taking pictures of myself is much easier than meeting girls and asking them to take their clothes off for me (and risk getting slapped, or worse, slapped with a restraining order, or worse yet, in the case of some girls, a prison sentence).

* I guess I'm somewhat narcissistic, and I have a fascination with my own body, especially the way I've been transforming from masculine to feminine, and wreaking havoc with the gender norms (I love being rebellious and forcing people to consider alternative ideas, because I'm an eccentric person, and I've been victimized all my life by this love of conformity that justifies the mistreatment of people who are "strange" or different than the average; I get some sense of satisfaction by rubbing my individuality in the face of society :D).

* Sexy pictures are an easy "in" that gets people's attention, after which I can bombard them with my writing, which embraces all the alternative ideas I mentioned above.

* I have alternative ideas about sex and nudity and gender and attraction, and my photography is a way to a) demonstrate that I really live the ideals I profess (and am thus not a hypocrite), and b) express visually (and, as described in the last point, by written word) just what those ideas are.

* It gives me something to do that makes me feel like my life is worthwhile (I'm constantly brightening people's days!), even if it's not getting paid by a jerk of a boss for doing menial labor. (Frankly, I think my erotic photography is a more important job, but nobody pays me for it, so in commercial terms, society thinks I'm worthless - hence why I despise society, and commercialism in particular).

* Doing erotic photography inspires me very much and fuels my creativity, and is just plain fun to do!

* Plus, it turns me on! I'm a total voyeur, and I don't know if this comes with the territory, but it turns out that I'm a bit of an exhibitionist, too. I don't think this is actually any different than the first point I wrote above, but it's worth repeating, because so many people want an explanation when it comes to doing anything relating to sex. What do you need an explanation for? Isn't sex justification enough? Come on, people! Stop feeling guilty and get your hard on!