a bouquet of brain treats

Every three to six months, I realize I’ve collected an amazing number of random sexuality-related links that various thoughtful people have sent my way but that I have not found any relevant way to include in a post. I do nonetheless feel a strong compulsion to share them with you, so here’s a bit of a grab bag for you to enjoy.

Did you ever wonder if you were really a woman, or really a man? The Gender Genie can help. All you need to do is enter a sample text that you’ve written, click the button, and it’ll tell you, based on your writing style, what your preferred pronoun must be. It breaks it down into an extensive word choice analysis, quite detailed in fact – listing the frequency at which you use gendered keywords like “with,” “where,” “should” and “myself” (female) or “around,” “what,” “below” and “these” (male). Needless to say it’s a heap of hogwash, but the theory amuses me. Well, anything amuses me when it tries desperately to find black-and-white gender differences where reality is much more like a Venn diagram (and even that’s assuming you understand there to be only two genders in the first place, as this site clearly does). I just plugged in four pieces of my own writing, two pieces of erotic fiction and two recent blog posts, and it would appear that when I write dirty stories I’m female but when I write in this here blog, I’m overwhelmingly male. Who knew? Is it a “women are sensual, men are intellectual” thing goin’ on? Hm. You can read another blogger’s views on the topic and experiments with the Gender Genie here.

Speaking of gender (aren’t we always?), here’s a really cool BMEzine interview with an extreme gender-fucking body-modifier named Ashley Crawford. Post-gender I think not – if we were truly post-gender, or if anyone was, we wouldn’t still be obsessing about it, reifying it, playing with it and subverting it so bloody much – but it’s still a fascinating read and Ashley still seems like a cool character. Anyone who finds a way to give themselves a cervical piercing has gotta be interesting, in my humble pro-body-mod opinion.

If you’re looking for cool sexuality-related blogs, check out Eye of Venus. Their mission statement:

“Born out of a desire to have a source for “quality” erotic blogs that truly lives up to its name, “Eye of Venus” was created as a repository of intelligent, entertaining, literate and photographic blogs dealing with the myriad facets of sex. Blogs submitted will be selected by merit, using our own rigorous and possibly quirky criteria. Our aim is to provide a service that highlights the best of erotic writing and visuals on the web, and to keep our standards consistently high.

“Here is where we are forced to admit to a certain level of intellectual snobbery. This directory was created by sex bloggers, for sex bloggers tired of finding their work lost in a morass of “sex blogs” featuring badly-lit tits, asses and money shots (charming though they are, in their own way). We intend to keep this directory selective, and are approaching you as we feel you represent the quality we are looking for. We would very much appreciate your support in our quest to promote world domination of the superior sex blog.”

I’m not listed there. Yet. Just submitted Sex Geek now, so we’ll see if I live up to their intellectual snobbery and rigorous quirky criteria. I’ll keep you posted.

Another cool read: Beauty in Darkness. I haven’t delved into it nearly as much as I should, but this is a BDSM history blog written by a dude in Vancouver. I like his brain. Must chew on it sometime soon.

If anyone here keeps up with feminist pop-culture critiques, you’ve surely heard all the fuss about Dove (the soap, not the chocolate) and their most recent marketing/branding efforts, the “campaign for real beauty,” in which they do things like feature non-model-bodied women and such other massively transgressive images. (I’m not kidding. In the ad world, this really is extremely controversial. Some of their recent ads have been pulled for featuring – gasp! – naked, though tastefully covered, women who are not 21 years old and 112 pounds. I kid you not.) The reason this is so interesting to feminists, including myself, is that their campaigns are simultaneously super-sincere, genuinely thought-provoking and extremely well-executed and impactful… and yet they’re situated within an industry and a corporate context that makes them undeniably hypocritical. Take a look here to see an award-winning ad video they put together – it really is excellent – and some of the critique around it.

Here is the most awfully titled article I’ve come across in quite some time: “Going Green Down There.” It’s a great idea, in that it tells you where to find environmentally friendly underwear (organic cotton, healthy dyes, etc.). I just wish it didn’t sound like an exposé about a horrid new vaginal fungal infection or something. Ick. Anyway, take a look if you want to know where to find the latest in tree-hugging undies.

Moving from underwear and vaginal fungus to sex (see how smooth that was?), I highly encourage you to check out Belle de Jour’s blog, particularly her recent post on how she’s not kinky. It rocks. In fact it was sent to me by a kinky friend in an e-mail with the subject line “Stands up and cheers!” if that gives you an idea. Belle de Jour’s blog is subtitled “diary of a london call girl” and that’s all you need to know. Go enjoy.

And speaking of sex (ha! again, these transitions!) here is one of the funnier comedic takes on lesbian sex I’ve recently encountered. Specifically, it’s lesbian phone sex (yeah, right). It’s a YouTube vid. Check it out, have a laugh. By the way – if you watch it – what is the name of that lesbian comic? I’ve been seeing her all over the place in the past couple of years, from the L Word spoof The D Word at last year’s image+nation to… I dunno. She’s just a familiar face.

And just for a resoundingly queer addition to this post, I give you Richard Burnett’s “Heroes and Zeros” of queer this year. He’s got a good list, very cool if you want a snapshot of 2007’s queer politics. Well, Richard’s take on ‘em anyway, which is hardly universal, but interesting nonetheless. I like it when people have different viewpoints from me – it learns me things. Like, for example, I had no idea that Marvel Comics unveiled their first transsexual supervillain this year. I don’t necessarily agree that this makes them heroes; maybe I would if they’d given us a tranny superhero – unfortunately we’ve already got lots of images of the Monstrous Evil Transsexual in our culture. That said, I do agree with some of Richard’s other heroes, such as “The 200 marchers who braved brutal mob attacks at their July 7 Pride parade in Zagreb, the same day Pride marchers in Budapest defied hundreds of skinheads throwing rotten eggs and smoke bombs.” Yep. Hard to argue with that one.

As an antidote to the trans supervillain, I give you Talia Mae Betcher’s webpage – she’s an academic from Cal State who recently published a major article on transphobic violence entitled “Evil Deceivers and Make-Believers: On Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion.” You can download the PDF from her site. The summary:

“This essay examines the stereotype that transgender people are “deceivers” and the stereotype’s role in promoting and excusing transphobic violence. The stereotype derives from a contrast between gender presentation (appearance) and sexed body (concealed reality). Because gender presentation represents genital status, Bettcher argues, people who “misalign” the two are viewed as deceivers. The  author shows how this system of gender presentation as genital representation is part of larger sexist and racist systems of violence and oppression.”

Yep. Good stuff. I’ll read it thoroughly and pick it apart here at some point.

No transition here – we are hopping directly from super-recent trans academic work to queer history, just like that. Here’s a radio show on the history of how the American Psychiatric Association de-listed homosexuality as a mental illness way back in 1973. Five years before I was born, they figured out I wouldn’t be officially crazy. How lovely!

And that’s all I got for you today, friends. I hope it keeps you entertained. Now, enough of this heady stuff: I’m going to sign off and get a really cute boi to paint my toenails. Ain’t life grand?

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the shout out. You can chew on my brains with some sauteed mushrooms.

  2. That sounds like a dinner invitation to me… :) I’ll bring the wine! Next time I’m in Vancouver that is, which may be sometime in the next six months. Yay! Yummy brains!

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