Friday, February 02, 2007

Prudery is Alive and Well

The headline of today's SF Chronicle bears Gavin Newsom's shameful apology: 'I HAVE LET THE PEOPLE DOWN'. He has publicly admitted to and apologized for having an affair with his campaign manager's wife now promises, with tail tucked between his legs, to focus on the needs of the city and not the needs of, you know, his dick. And Gaving Newsom has let The People down. But not by having an affair with a married woman. That is really none of our fucking business unles "we" are the woman in question or her husband. He has let The People down by being a shitty mayor who doesn't engage in many of the issues this city faces and who has been softballing (and divorcing and partying and boinking) his way through his Mayorship. If anything he should be apologizing for not prioritizing The People over his own needs, not for actually having sex, adulterous or otherwise.

One of the ways Mr. Newsom has tried to show he is for The People in recent days is to attack the place I work at (NSFW link) for buying the Armory building to use for producing BDSM/fetish pornography. In a city that is riddled with adult businesses he has decided to come out swinging against Kink.com and, in a manner similar to Helen Lovejoy from "The Simpsons" and cry out , "won't somebody PLEASE think of the children: "While not wanting to be prudish, the fact that kink.com will be located in the proximity to a number of schools give us pause," Mayor Gavin Newsom said in a statement this week.

On my way into work today I sat next to a man reading a newspaper article about the controversy regarding Daniel Radcliffe starring in and going nude for the play Equus. Over his shoulder I read a quote from a parent saying that her 9 year old son looks up to Radcliffe and that, because of his role and nudity in this play, they will not be taking him to see any more of his movies, Harry Potter or otherwise.

The first Wonder Woman tattoo I got on my right arm depicts her breaking out of chains with the words "Prejudice", "Prudery" and "Man's Superiority" illustrating what the chains represent. While "prudery" may not be a word that gets a lot of use these days and the image is from a 1940s depiction of the Amazing Amazon, it seems like it's as alive today as it ever was. Why does the Mayor of San Francisco feel the need to confess his sexual "sins" on national television? Why is a legitimately-run, fully-legal adult business being called out for legally purchasing a building that has long sat dormant and would never be suitable for the "affordable housing" people now claim they wish it was being used for? Why is an actor who has every right to play any role he wants but is best known as the filmic incarnation of an insanely popular literary character being castigated for playing a complex, disturbed character who takes his clothes off onstage? Prudery! And people's need to impose theirs on everyone else while also being nearly obsessed with all the lurid details of a good sex scandal, porn company or naked stage moment.

I am not saying that everyone should conform to one set of morals or values around sex and sexuality - it's something entirely personal and individual, I realize that. What I am sick and tired of is the negative, damaging, hypocritical discourse around all of it. If Newsom feels so guilty and is worried about his indiscretions reaching the public then he needs to do some fucking self-work and deal with his shit instead of coming after Kink.com. If people have a problem with an adult company that is going to be operating behind closed doors and will have nothing to do with the youth in the surrounding area maybe they need to sit down and provide some sexual education for their children instead of worrying about what The Big Bad Porn Company Will Teach them. Here's a newsflash: our culture is so anti-sex education that most kids end up learning all about it from porn. And while I am not anti-porn I am definitely not pro-porn when it comes to it being a source of sex education - it's too edited for fantasy (i.e. you never see lube or condoms being applied or often times not even used, you never see the kind of prep work certain sexual acts require) to be very educational. And while you're at it, explain to your kid that Daniel Radcliffe is an actor who is choosing to play a role in something that is better suited for an adult audience. Don't go imposing 800 tons of shame about naked bodies on your kid. You know, as if you haven't already. And finally, don't go decrying all of these sexual situations and then go force feeding/greedily consuming them as if your life depended on it. Maybe it's your own repressed desires swirling around all of these issues that have really put that wasp up your hoop skirt. To paraphrase Shakespear, the prude doth protest too much, methinks.

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