This is a bit f…

This is a bit from an article entitled “Sexuality, Pleasure, & Safety: How to Know What You Really Really Want.” In it, the author reviews and excerpts a book of practical sexual education, ”What You Really Really Want.”  I think the book is a great blend of engaging, interactive tools (the kind that they are attempting to incorporate more into sex education in schools), and a broader scope of exploratative information.  In terms of sexual education, there are several lenses one needs to engage with, including the global, cultural, and media perspectives, all as relating back to the personal.

“Friedman also provides a concise summary of confusing media messages that limit women to a “teeny window of ‘correct’ sexuality” combined with artificial ideals, followed by a dive-in exercise on media representations of women:

Dive In: Think back to some adolescent media crushes—that song or album you listened to over and over, the magazine subscription you thought would change your life, the book you picked up again and again, the movie you imagined yourself starring in, the video game you played and played and played, the TV show you just couldn’t miss. What drew you to these particular experiences? What, if anything, did they say to you about sexuality? What lessons did you learn from them that you’ve since rejected, and what did you learn that you still adhere to today? If you could go back and tell your adolescent self something about your media choices, what would it be? Get out your journal, and write about it for five minutes.

“What You Really Really Want” gradually shifts from looking at external influences that can prevent women from developing their own sexual identity to exploring different identities and assumptions about sexuality. Following sections on gender and sexual orientation, readers encounter this exercise:

Dive In: Make a list of all the words you can think of that you’ve used yourself or heard someone else use to describe someone’s sexual orientation. Don’t hold back—list the slang and slur words right alongside the more formal terms. Next, cross out every word that you think no one should ever use about anyone. Then cross out every word that you personally would never use to describe someone else. Then, of the remaining words, cross out every one that you wouldn’t want anyone else to use when describing you. Lastly, cross out any word that’s left that you would never use to describe yourself.

Write all of the words that are left in a new list. How do they make you feel? Do they describe your sexual orientation? Are there facets of your orientation that words don’t exist for? If you feel like it, invent a word that helps fill in those gaps.

It may seem like a lot of self-analysis, but that’s exactly what’s needed. As The New York Times Magazine article points out, teens have a difficult time articulating their own desires, in part due to the abundance of manufactured sexual imagery that creates false and harmful standards for what we (or our partners) should look like naked and how we should act.”


Thanksgiving Mathematics

It’s imperative that I find the scientific ratio between miles run and pies consumed.  

Essentially, I need to know how many miles I must run in order to cancel out the seventeen pies I plan on consuming later today.

Recession for Some, Full-Blown Depression for Others

It’s no big secret that the economy sucks.  But what’s often lacking from the discussion/incessant complaining is that the recession is not just some uniformly-bankrupt blanket tossed over the country.  As this article from Ms. Magazine’s blog points out, there are huge discrepancies in how the recession is effecting people among racial lines.  Surprise, surprise: being a minority still puts you at an economic disadvantage.  White people lost approximately 16% of their wealth from 2005-2009, which is no pocket change.  But when compared with blacks who lost half of their wealth, and Hispanics who lost nearly 2/3, one cannot ignore the staggering difference.

Sick Child with a New Blog

Yesterday I greeted the end of my work day on a subway platform with a slew of other Manhattanites, all shoving each other like pinballs in designer suits.  Just as a man’s elbow nearly took out my face, a wave of sickness came over me.  This is nothing new as far as New York subway experiences go.  Particularly in the summer.  Waiting for a subway in August is essentially spending time on a hostile, inhabitable planet.  A dense, humid atmosphere replaces breathable oxygen, overheating occurs at an aggressive rate, water spontaneously evaporates, society loses all morality as children and the elderly are pushed aside in order to obtain a neon orange plastic seat, etc.  However, the sickness that came upon me went went beyond the customary feelings of subway eradication which we’ve all grown accustomed to.  I didn’t quite feel like I had to vomit, and I didn’t think I would pass out, but I knew if I got on that train I would regret it because of the severity of the illness I felt.

I ran out of the station and hailed a cab, which takes a lot of gumption considering I was on the Upper West Side heading towards the Lower East Side, which is basically a week’s worth of groceries.  I may not have spent that money in fact if I hadn’t been so ill and therefore slightly delusional (impacting even my monetary sense).  When I finally made it back to my apartment, I discovered I had a temperature of 100.6.

The ensuing scene was a frightening one.  The sick body is one of contradiction: simultanously hot and cold, shaky and aching.  This leaves a person with some very strange options.  I went and grabbed my winter blanket as well as my standing fan and wrapped myself like a cocoon while blasting cold air in my face.  My cheeks were ruddy and palms sweaty, my hair thrown up into a ratty ponytail.  I put on purple sweatpants and a stained Bar Mitzvah shirt that I’ve had since I was 12.    The whole thing felt like a bad Jewish spoof of “28 Days Later.”

When one reaches this state, there is only one real course of action.  And we all know what that action is.  “Seinfeld” on DVR.  Thus, I promptly began an impressive marathon of built-up episodes.  DVRing that show is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Because when you’re in a bind, ie, you’re ill and can’t do much else except rot in a lump on the couch and watch TV, much of live TV just won’t cut it.  There is nothing that makes a fever worse than seeing a commercial for “Bad Girl’s Club” where women in too-tight dresses shout obscenities and throw china plates at each other for no discernible reason.

Today has been much of the same.  I finished “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and have listened to bad indie mixes on 8tracks created by 18 year olds in the Midwest.  Thus, my first experience with fever in New York has gone as well as could be expected.  The plan for tonight involves more ingesting of fever-reducers and continuing to read Anne Sexton’s completed poems, which I suspect is the perfect antidote for keeping myself mentally downtrodden just in case I start to physically perk up.

And also, here is my new blog, weeahoooo!