From The San Francisco Gate:
The Child Porn Lie (And Other Hits)
Violet Blue: The top five underreported sex stories of the year
Violet Blue, special to SF Gate
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Sure, we all heard about the Spitzer scandal, and the sad news that the DC Madam hung herself, but what about the sex stories no one told you about? A lot happened in sex this year; did you know that Playgirl Magazine folded (putting many gay porn stars out of work?) And why so little buzz that sex toys are no longer banned in Texas, a move that significantly impacted Texan vegetable industry sales, while shares of battery stocks climaxed?
Then one study said that women aren't turned on by naked men, though they do get turned on by explicit imagery of all kinds, and another stated that most would pick the Internet over sex any day of the week. Even though for most of us girls, the Internet is our sex toy. Australia announced a national "mandatory" Internet filtering program against "obscene" material to the horror of many, and Britain passed a law banning "extreme" porn (even possession is illegal) making UK spanking enthusiasts want to spank the government right back. Many women from British BDSM communities spoke out against the law and its infringement on their liberty.
Scholars also proved that strip clubs are not harmful to neighborhoods: American Ethnography Quasimonthly dispelled myths about the effects of adult businesses on communities with hardcore academic studies (hardcore as in thoroughly researched and cited - mind out of the gutter, please). Then, in Texas, offended parents sued a school over the school's privacy-invading sex offender check system. Over in Europe, people started getting threatening settlement letters for illegal porn downloads in a porn piracy witch hunt - when they hadn't downloaded a thing. And the US recession was helped along by the widespread practice of people trading sex for home loan borrower portfolios.
While substitute schoolteacher Julie Amero's schoolroom computer pop-up porn case was resolved (though justice went unserved) Prince (or The Artist Formerly Known as Loved by LGBT Communities Worldwide) came out - as homophobic. We found out that red state teens regularly break their abstinence pledges and pregnancy rates in the 13-17 age range of evangelical young girls are off the charts. Companies started to realize that sex doesn't really "sell". A study claimed that monogamy has to do with genetics - the "monogamy gene", do you have it? Yet another study linked homophobia and homoerotic arousal.
The Craigslist Experiment troll was sued in Federal court; he ran a fake Craigslist sex ad and published the privacy information of all who responded and now he's facing charges for it. COPA (the Child Online Protection Act) was overturned, and for good, solid constitution-upholding reasons. Google Trends was used to show that Kentucky is the most obscene state in the nation. (Road trip!) The journal of the American Psychological Association, Janis Wolak and co-researchers examined several fears about child sexual predators online - and they concluded that many are myths. Lastly, bloggers caught the Geek Squad pilfering porn.
But of all the underreported news and developments about sex, these top five should have seen more headlines - and they might shock you:
5. Google Can't Find the Clitoris
Blogger and erotic filmmaker Tony Comstock (comstockfilms.com, not work safe) wanted to see what would happen when he searched for sex with the filters on. Disturbingly, he discovered that with SafeSearch turned on, Google delivered no - zero - results for the word "clitoris," but 33 million "safe" results for the word "penis". Which leaves us all wondering why a penis is somehow safer than a clitoris. True, one could argue that because the penis is a biological reproductive organ and the clitoris is not - she exists purely for female pleasure - that one might want to protect "the children" from knowing about it. Susie Bright said that the word "clit" was the new four-letter word.
Maybe it's just a glitch. Or maybe clitoris really is a myth, after all.
4. Minors: Harmful to Themselves?
A 15-year-old Ohio girl was charged with felony child pornography for taking naked pictures of herself. Next, you'll be charged for sexually abusing yourself. Ohio, can we have a re-count, please?
3. Bush's Last Attacks - Aimed At Your Vagina
When having a vagina (and control over what happens to it) becomes a threat to morality, we all know Sheriff Bush will ride into town and save the good folk. Or, he'll sneak around the back door trying to put a lock on the front door, as it were. After the Bush administration proposed and pushed regulations via the Department of Health and Human Services to define contraception (birth control; condoms) as abortion - he wants to leave us ladies with a little parting gift. As in, parting us with our right to choose. Bush has just imposed a 127-page rule preventing any health care provider from being fired for refusing a patient medical care on religious grounds. So, depending on what religion of health care provider you end up with: people won't be able to get contraception at pharmacies, rape victims can be denied access to the morning after pill, abortions can be denied…
2. Thought Crimes: Child Porn Conviction for Manga?
Christopher Handley, an Iowa manga and comic book collector is facing obscenity charges based on erotic manga that he ordered from Japan. The government alleges that the drawings contain images that appear to be depictions of minors engaged in sexual conduct. Comic legend Neil Gaiman spoke out about the issue, reminding us that the laws being used against the comic collector are supposed to be for actual depictions of child porn, and that such an extreme prosecution could be leveled at Gaiman himself for comics he himself has created and sold for decades. This appears to fly in the face of a Supreme Court ruling this year stating that "virtual child pornography," featuring computer-generated or manipulated images but no actual children engaged in sex acts, cannot be constitutionally prohibited (unless it is deemed "obscene"). The person has to believe that they are seeing depictions of illegal sex acts. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is working with the defense in Handley's case.
1. The Child Porn Statistics Lie: Exposed
Information laundering is when someone makes a statement and then it gets quoted all around until no one knows where it came from, but takes the statement as fact. In Statistics Laundering: false and fantastic figures, the author drilled down to the sources of oft-quoted statistics about the prevalence of child porn and found that most claims are inaccurate, misquoted or simply made up. How can we stop it if we don't have accurate data? Out-of-date, false and/or misleading "statistics" concerning the prevalence of "child porn" material on Internet Web sites won't save a single victim if we don't know the facts about the real threat level of the threat. But, sensationalism sells, even when it's proven to be bad mojo. Why didn't we hear more about this?
Maybe because everyone's still trying to find the clitoris.
"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey
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