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June 30, 2010

Slutty Celebrity Quote (and Photo Shoot): Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren recently did an interview in New York magazine's Summer Issue (June 28-July 5) to promote her latest role as Grace Botempo, the madam of a seventies Reno whorehouse, in the film Love Ranch (opens today).

In it, she had some pretty awesome things to say about sexuality:
“I much prefer overt sexuality to sleazy, vulgar prurience.”
As Mirren explains it, she struggled to get a handle on her own sexuality in order to use its power to accomplish her ambitions. “The Playboy Mansion, coke, and the rise of all that—Guccione and Hefner always pushed it as liberation, but it didn’t seem like that to me,” she says. “That was women obeying the sexualized form created by men—though maybe we always do that, because we want to be attractive. But I was kind of a trailblazer because I demanded to do it my own way. I’d say, ‘I’m not having it put on me by someone else.’ I didn’t want to be the sort of puritanical good girl with a little white collar who says, ‘Don’t shag until you get married.’ ”

Now, her reputation secure, Mirren’s enjoying the results of her efforts. “I’m thrilled young girls are claiming their sexuality for themselves,” she says. “I love bold women: Madonna and Scarlett Johansson—sexy and gorgeous, but not only that. And Miley Cyrus—fantastic! And Lady Gaga. I love the way she’s elevated pop to performance art, or dragged performance art down to pop, or maybe made a wonderful amalgam of the two.”

With her coy smile, Mirren looks like the conspiring queen who’s usurped the throne, securing the kingdom for her heirs: “My girls: Miley, Scarlett, Lady Gaga. My team … Yes.”
Of course, the media have been going nuts over the interview, but not because of what she said.

Everyone is flipping out over what she wore in the photo shoot: nothing. Mirren, 64, posed nude in a bathtub in two very tasteful shots by Juergen Teller. But based on the reaction, you'd think she did a full frontal spread for Penthouse magazine. But these were not racy or raunchy photos, nor were they even that overtly sexual.

Of course, we're not surprised that the media have made a big deal of the fact that Mirren is posing nude (er, nude-ish) at age 64. 

Mirren obviously looks amazing for her age - or any age - (we've all seen those bikini pics) but it's annoying how so many articles have focused on that - either how surprising it is that a woman in her sixties can still be sexy or how inappropriate it is that a woman in her sixties has the nerve to think she can still be sexy.

Either way, it's ageism and slut-shaming and we're not happy about it.

Just the title of the Zeitgeisty Report's "breaking news" report makes me want to punch someone:
Helen Mirren bares her breasts for New York Magazine…HOT or YUCK??!!
But Linda Parker from All Voices really pissed me off (and also added a year to her age):

Recently, 65-year-old Helen Mirren posed nude for a photo shoot in New York magazine for photographer Juergen Teller, according to reports. This was a rare sort of photo shoot which cannot be considered HOT at all.

Discovering nude photos of Helen Mirren is no longer an attraction for anyone, as the lady has lost her charm, obviously. Although, by posing nude with saggy boobs and unattractive curves, Helen Mirren showed her guts, it seems that nobody is interested in watching nude Helen Mirren photos.

Um, speak for yourself Parker. But possibly the worst offender was The Daily Mail:

[...] they are really quite peculiar. As she splashes about in the horribly murky water - no arty islands of strategically positioned suds here - exactly what is Helen trying to tell us? That getting older is fun? At first glance, it certainly doesn't look like it.

In one shot, it appears that she has just been forced into a cold bath in a nursing home, perhaps to undergo some procedure to assist with kidney function. Nurse, the hose! The other, however, is more elegiac; a portrait of a beautiful woman contemplating both her past and her future. Here is this mature body, she seems to be saying, a body that once tempted and enslaved men, now shrivelling under the cold water and betrayal of old age. Yet the grave, oval face and elegant arms are still lovely.

In a world where many men seem to take it as a personal affront that females don't all look like Kelly Brook, older women can become invisible. Not Dame Helen. Not a bit of it. [...]

So arise, Dame Helen, you crazy old doll. Or on second thoughts don't. Stay in the bath, for everyone's sake. [emphasis mine] 
I specifically bolded that one part because it is the only place in this article where the author, Jan Moir, makes a decent point. Older women, rather all women, are constantly made to feel like they have to look young forever (hello Botox) and if they don't, they should just disappear. However, instead of praising Mirren for not hiding herself Moir shames her for showing herself (and really, come on, she didn't show that much of herself).

On the opposite of the spectrum, the media outlets that have praised Mirren for looking so young aren't really that much better...  because instead of "if you don't look like Kelly Brook, you become invisible"... it only makes the point that if you're in your sixties and you don't look like Helen Mirren, then you should become invisible.

Such as The Frisky:

Dear God, please let me look this effortlessly beautiful when I am her age.
Or StyleList:
Okay, now she's just showing off. Helen Mirren soaking it in for New York Magazine.

A couple of years after flaunting her foxy frame in a bikini, Oscar winner Helen Mirren has upped the ante by posing topless in a bathtub for New York Magazine.

And while we can think of a few (million) senior citizens we'd prefer to not see in the buff, Mirren -- who turns 65 next month -- actually looks pretty darn sexy and wrinkle-free -- hard to pull off while striking a pose from a prune skin-inducing bath -- in the Juergen Teller-photographed shoot.
And we have to admit, we were surprised by the very pertness of the Dame's breasts and how they even floated to the surface of the sopay water (never underestimate the power of the arm-raised-above-the-head position). It's taken decades off them...
Maybe instead of being so shocked at how hot Mirren is despite her age or how not-hot she is because of her age, we should just acknowledge that women are beautiful at every age and there's nothing shameful or overtly sexual or "yucky" about the human body in its natural form.

On HollywoodNews.com, Mirren was quoted, “I didn’t think it was such a big deal. I couldn’t believe the reaction. I didn’t show very much.”
We'd have to agree.


Parental Pride at PrideFest

We already posted our Pride Day in Pictures recap, but I just wanted to mention one other little thing about being at PrideFest and the March on Sunday...

Jezebel and I brought Lil' Lilith to PrideFest with us this year. Yep, I decided that it was time that I fully expose her to the evil gay agenda.

It was extremely hot and sunny and everyone was tired and hot and sticky and sweaty, but my girl was a trooper. Decked out in her rainbow sneakers and I'm Not Queer, But I'm Here button, she acquired additional pride paraphernalia along the way - including some gold beads from Walgreens, a bracelet from the Hetrick-Martin Institute that reads "Love Yourself", one of the official NYC Pride 2010 buttons, a sticker that said "Sleep with the right people" from UniteHere (that one got some weird looks, but we explained that it was about supporting hotel workers rights) and my personal favorite, an "I Love Pro-Choice Boys" button from NARAL Pro-Choice America.(That one got her a lot of attention - someone even asked to take a picture with her. Everybody loves a little feminist.)

She hung in there the whole time without complaining too much about the heat (although she did request ice cream several times - thank you very much to Ben & Jerry's for being there!) or about her feet hurting. But mostly I was just really proud that she was interested in being at an event like that and really did seem to care about why we were there. May not be much, but it made me proud.

Of course, as if my dad didn't already have enough reasons to think I'm a lesbian, I can't wait to tell him that I brought my 10 year old to PrideFest (with my alleged "girlfriend"). But like they say over at Swish: "Pride. It's not just for gay people anymore."

June 29, 2010

The ESC Does NYC Pride: A Day In Pictures

On Sunday we attended Pridefest, the annual LGBT street fair in New York. We had an awesome time, so we thought we'd share our day in pictures.

We definitely did not make any "sausage fest" jokes after seeing this sign. We're mature adults.

It's the International Coalition of Hot Guys in Underwear!

The NYC Health table was busy all day. Why? Two words: free condoms.

It's basically a law of street fairs that all food tastes better on a stick, but this was one that we hadn't seen before.

Barack Obama was there! Okay, so he wasn't actually there himself (although he totally should have been, because we think the International Coalition of Hot Guys in Underwear could help bring about world peace), but Organizing for America was there registering voters.

Trojans handing out Trojans!

The guy who was manning this table ran off when he heard about the hot Trojans.

The only bigger crowd than the one for free condoms was the one for free ice cream.

Screw the American Family Association, we found the real AFA at Pridefest. The American Fertility Association is "a lifetime resource for infertility prevention, reproductive health and family building".

The woman from Macy's was super nice. She gave us a bunch of coupons and bridal registry info. (I didn't cut her head out of the picture on purpose, I was focused on the Macy's pride logo. You'll see why in an upcoming post.)

Hottest guy there. (No, not the dude in the khaki shorts.) Look at that fabulous belt!

We spent most of the day at Pridefest but we did stop by the parade for a few minutes, so here are a few pictures from that. (For lots more, check out GLAAD's photo album.) We won't caption them all individually, but you can create your own captions using some of the following words and phrases: fierce, flawless, fabulous, you better work, diva, you go girl, we're here, we're queer, get used to it...okay, sorry, I'll stop now.

June 28, 2010

True Blood vs The Gates: You Know Who the Winner Is

Well, last night's episode of True Blood was fucking insane. And last night's episode of The Gates was totally boring. I think I sense a pattern forming...

[This blog contains SPOILERS of both shows, but really, only the True Blood spoiler warning matters because who cares what happened on The Gates, am I right?]

But yes, last night's episode of True Blood was off the hook. There was not one, but two crazy sex scenes. (One of which was kinda hot, the other of which was just... yuck.) There were crazy twists and lots of blood and plenty of violence and the introduction of a new hottie, Joe Manganiello as the werewolf Alcide. I really like the way the show has made the vampires and werewolves physically very different - that is, the vamps are all sleek and sexy and goth and kinda metrosexual. The wolves on the other hand are like tough guys and bikers, all muscley and beardy. (Last season we learned that maenads are upper class hippies and so far most shape-shifters are white trash... can't wait to see what comes next.)

The Gates, on the other hand, was less climactic. This episode opened with a scene of two wolves running through the woods towards a sweet little deer. After seeing werewolves and vampires kill real life people just a few moments ago on True Blood, it's hard to be shocked when you see a couple of werewolves chowing down on a dead deer. (And I really expected the deer to turn into a blonde chick or a big pig or something.)

Then there's talk of a terrible upsetting murder... that's not nearly as terrible and upsetting as the murders we just saw on True Blood. (The body they found on The Gates still had a head, for instance.) And then there's a vampire-on-vampire sex scene that doesn't come close to what we just saw Bill do to Lorena. (Not that any show on TV should have scenes like that, ever ever again.) Now I know this is ABC, so you can't really expect the kind of stuff they show on HBO... but it's hard to care about Desperate Vampire Housewives when you've just seen the crazy shit that just went down in the past hour on True Blood.

Even if you haven't just watched True Blood, everything about this show still just feels unoriginal. I'm not sure if the series creators intended to make certain allusions or what, but everything about this show just makes me think of what else that came before it (and in this case, that's not always a good thing).

Even the name of the show makes me think of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's artwork in New York City, which in turn makes me think of those dumb AT&T commercials. And what a dumb thing to name your gated community: "The Gates"? It's surrounded by gates... let's just call it "the Gates", get it? The Gates! Talk about lazy naming. This ranks right up there with The Happening and Fighting for "all the other good names were taken so we just stopped trying" titling. Unless the actual physical gates turn out to have some magical powers themselves (because that would actually be kinda cool). This week's episode was called "What Lies Beneath" which was also the title of the 2000 supernatural horror/thriller film starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer which itself was full of allusions to Hitchcock films like Rear Window. (It is also vaguely reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "from beneath you, it devours" theme from season 7.)

So when Devon pressures Claire to give her a vial of her blood, we're not curious what that's all about... we just assume she's a V-head or something. That's probably not it, but you know it's not going to be anything as interesting as the Lafayette-Eric-SophieAnn blood-dealing set-up... so it's just really really hard to care. That's how I feel about The Gates. It's not a bad show... but I just find it really hard to care what happens. Meanwhile the second an episode of True Blood ends I'm counting the minutes until the next one (which is also the only reason I end up watching The Gates).

June 27, 2010

Bloggers in Pajamas

It's that time of year again. BlogHer 2010 is less than two months away, which means that the pre-BlogHer posts are starting to pop up. One of the most popular topics is usually 'what I'm wearing to BlogHer', but we've noticed that these posts usually neglect the official uniform of bloggers...pajamas! If the 'bloggers in pajamas' stereotype was really true, we like to imagine that BlogHer would be the most stylish and diverse parade of women's pajamas in the game.

Okay, we were joking, but now we're seriously thinking of putting this in the suggestion box for BlogHer 2011. Just think of how comfortable we'd all be! And there's still plenty of opportunity for individuality...

So, we're browsing this site where you can buy women's pajamas in pretty much every color, style, and pattern, and we come across this one:

Under the name of these pajamas it says "Jennifer Love Hewitt loves hers!" It's the only celebrity endorsement that we've seen on the site so far, so we're taking it as a sign that we should admit our ulterior motives with the whole pajama thing. One of the things that we love about going to conferences is taking the time to sit around the hotel room watching random bad TV, usually while reading bad magazines and eating bad food. (Last year at BlogHer we were particularly entertained by reruns of 7th Heaven.) So if we were able to make the pajamas thing happen, it would be totally convenient for us. And if these are good enough for the Ghost Whisperer, they're good enough for us...because that's probably what we'll be watching anyway. Maybe we'll just go for it and tell people that it's a new New York fashion trend, and if they haven't heard about it they're just not edgy and cool. Being lazy is hard work.

*All of the images of womens pajamas in this post are from WomensPajamas.com.

One Million Moms: Still Against The Secret Life of the American Teenager

cannot believe that the One Million Moms are still protesting against The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Have they even seen the show!? My god, it's the most preachy, anti-sex show I've seen in years. It's so preachy, it's almost a PSA or After-School Special. Nothing could send the message of abstinence to teenagers more than by making them watch this show.

I'm really beginning to think that the One Million Moms are against the show primarily because the show actually acknowledges that a) sex exists and b) sometimes teenagers are having it. Other than that though, you'd think this would be their most favorite show in the world. That's why it's so confusing to me when they continuously send out action alerts against the show...

Their most recent complaint is that the show "supports abortion". From the action alert:
Most recent episodes included:

• the discussion of teen pregnancy and motherhood
• s*x and oral s*x (* used to bypass internet filters)
• divorced parents living together
• Adrian, who makes one night stands a hobby of hers, finds out she is pregnant
• she plans on having an abortion to, in her own words, "take care of it"
• teen mom has gone from learning her lesson to parents aware she is on "the pill" and is ok with it
There are a handful of friends and future grandparents attempting to talk Adrian out of the abortion. This type of drama is not the type of entertainment parents want for their children. ABC Family thinks otherwise. S*x, abortion and birth control are exactly what this network is exposing your children to.
So what exactly is so bad about this show? The mere discussion of teen pregnancy and motherhood. Shouldn't we be discussing teen pregnancy and motherhood with our children... so we can prevent it? Why is it unacceptable for these topics to be addressed at all, even if it's done in a really preachy obnoxious way that you'd think they would like.

The existence of sex and oral sex is also unacceptable. Oh we mean s*x. We think it's funny that they now explain why they do the "s*x" thing. (Clearly they've been reading our blog.) 

Divorced parents living together. I'm not sure what their beef with that part is... I know the OMM are against divorce, but the fact that they are living together and trying to make it work and considering getting married again has got to be better (in their minds) than the parents just splitting up, period. I mean, if they really care about the sanctity of marriage, you think they'd want divorced parents to get back together.

And then there's Adrian. Poor slutty Adrian. Adrian has been the "what not to do" example ever since the first season... she's the one with no morals, the only one on that show who doesn't think sex is something shameful... I'm actually surprised it took them this long to "punish" her with something like an unplanned pregnancy.

Of course, she's considering abortion. She's the horrible slutty character with no morals. But does that really mean the show is supporting abortion? Of course not. When Amy was considering "taking care of it" the whole friggin town came down to the clinic to talk her out of it. Why should we believe that the Adrian-abortion situation will be handled any differently? If she doesn't have an abortion, it will be because she learned the error of her ways. If she does have an abortion, it will surely ruin her life forever. I mean, isn't that obviously the way a show this preachy would handle it? (My money is on the last minute surprise miscarriage a day before her appointment at the clinic, TV shows love that convenient twist.)

Honestly, I think the OMM are just upset that Secret Life even acknowledges that abortion exists. However, they don't actually really portray it as a possible option. It's this horrible thing that teenage girls would like to use to "take care of" their unplanned pregnancies, but obviously can't because it's so horrible.

And they don't promote sex either. That complaint is so annoying. Admitting the existence of sex is not the same as promoting sex. In fact, the show is so anti-sex it's disgusting. On Secret Life, characters who have sex are almost always instantly punished. Let's recap some of the horrible consequences sex has brought them:
  • Amy has sex for the first time. Consequence: Pregnancy.
  • Amy's married father has sex with Adrian's mom. Consequence: Divorce.
  • Amy's mother has sex with her new boyfriend for the first time. Consequence: Pregnancy.
  • Jack has sex with Adrian. Consequence: Grace breaks up with him.
  • Grace has sex for the first time. Consequence: Her father dies!
  • Amy's date finds a condom in her purse. Consequence: He never calls her. (You don't even have to have sex to suffer consequences... someone just has to make the assumption that you might possibly have sex sometime in the future.)
  • Adrian and Ben have sex. Consequence: Pregnancy. Another fucking pregnancy!
Basically sex = ruin your life! I'm surprised they're still harping on the Secret Life after all this time. They just stick to their favorites. You'd think they would want to move on to something new at this point. (You'd think they'd be all over that new show Pretty Little Liars, but they just ignored it.) Going back to the same shows over and over just highlights the fact that they've had no success in hurting the show in any way. 
Parents please consider making this program "off limits" in your home. If you're child finds a way to continue watching it despite your disapproval or had the unavoidable discussion with classmates, consider using this as an opportunity and a springboard for a discussion. If you were not aware of the topics on this show; now you have the information needed as a parent.
Yep. "If you're child finds a way..." I'm more concerned with whether my child is going to find a way to learn proper grammar than I am with whether she's going to watch a preachy melodramatic TV show.

June 26, 2010

Please Vote for Us in the BlogLuxe Awards!

Shameless self-promotion time....

We have been nominated for a few BlogLuxe Awards from the SocialLuxe Lounge. Thank you to those who nominated us!

We'd really love to win one of these (or at least make the top 5) because we will actually be attending the SocialLuxe party and awards ceremony at the BlogHer conference this August so if we do win we'll be there to receive our award in person. Last year one of us actually accidentally ended up helping to present an award (long story, heh) so we think it'd be fun to be on the opposite end this time.
Also, we'd love to get this kind of recognition from a blogging community that *sometimes* discounts us because of our name. And as always, it would be lovely to see that our readers and fans care! But most of all, we just want to be able to start going around obnoxiously talking about our "award-winning blog" all the time. (Just kidding. We promise not to do this. But we might start taking the award with us everywhere we go like Kathy Griffin does with her Emmys.)

So please go to http://www.socialluxelounge.com/phpQ/blogluxevote.php and vote for Evil Slutopia in the "Most Provocative" category (category #5) EVERY DAY until July 12.

We were actually nominated in a few different categories ("Funniest Blog", "Guilty Pleasure", "Most Provocative", "Blog You've Learned the Most From" and "Most Inspiring") so you are, of course, welcome to vote for us in more than one category. But we'd really love to win for "Most Provocative" because we think that suits us best.

There are some other really great blogs nominated in various categories this year so if you have the time check them out and vote for every category. You know, after you're done voting for us.

You can vote for each category once a day until July 12. You need a valid email address to vote. They will send you an authorization link to click on for your vote to go through officially. THEY WILL NOT KEEP YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SPAM YOU LATER ON. This is just a precaution to make sure each voter is a real person and weed out cheaters. [Rules]

Please vote for us! We'll love you forever. Thank you!!!!


Have I ever mentioned that I love Johnny Weir? I think I may have once or twice before. Well, tomorrow night is the season finale of his reality show, Be Good Johnny Weir. It airs at 9pm on the Sundance Channel, and to celebrate they're having an all-day marathon of the whole season. Set your DVRs, bitches, it's a Johnnyfest!

If you don't get the Sundance Channel, you can also find Be Good Johnny Weir on itunes. And for the next few weeks, you can also find Johnny blogging over at SUNfiltered.

June 25, 2010

Glenn Beck Hates World Cup, World Too Busy Enjoying World Cup To Care

Apparently Glenn Beck is running out of things to get outraged about, because he recently went on a rant about how much he hates soccer and the World Cup.

BECK: I don't get the baseball thing, but the soccer thing, I hate it so much -- probably because the rest of the world likes it so much, and they riot over it, and they continually try to jam it down our throat. It doesn't matter how you sell it to us. It doesn't matter how many celebrities you get. It doesn't matter how many bars open early. It doesn't matter how many beer commercials they run. We don't want the World Cup. We don't like the World Cup. We don't like soccer. We want nothing to do with it. You can package it any way -- you can spend all kinds of money. You can force it on our television sets. We will not enjoy the World Cup. [via Media Matters]
Do you hear that, world? Stop trying to make the World Cup happen. Glenn Beck has spoken. WE WILL NOT ENJOY THE WORLD CUP.

What a pointless and stupid thing to get so annoyed about. I mean, seriously? Hating on the World Cup just because the rest of the world likes it? Of course, I'm sure part of the hidden meaning here is that he hates it because the rest of the world is really good at it, and most of the time they're better than us, and we can't just dominate. It's so irritating having to acknowledge that other countries exist and that the U.S. isn't automatically the best at everything that it does, right Glenn?

Now, nobody's saying that Glenn Beck personally has to love soccer or enjoy the World Cup. He's entitled to his opinion, but that's all it is. His opinion. So he's really got to cut the "we" and "us" crap, especially since it seems like the "we" in his comment is supposed to refer to Americans in general. I guess maybe he needs to be reminded that no matter what his fans may think or wish, he actually doesn't speak for us. In fact, many many many of us happen to think that he can suck it.

There are also a few people that he really needs to meet. Glenn, I'd like to introduce you to a whole bunch of people who are here to prove you completely and utterly wrong:

Team USA's next match is tomorrow afternoon against Ghana. It airs on ABC at 2:30pm (EDT). You know, if you care.

Sherri Shepherd & D.L. Hughley Spread Misinformation about HIV/AIDS

We already knew that Sherri Shepherd was a fucking moron, but now here's the proof that D.L. Hughley is an idiot too. From the June 22, 2010 episode of ABC's The View:

Basically both Hughley and Shepherd make the (false) claim that the primary reason for the prevalance of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community is that women are contracting the disease from men who are "on the down low".
Hughley: When you look at the prevalence of HIV in the African American Community, it's primarily young women who are getting it from men who are on the down low. That's the thing.

Shepherd: The down low is black men who've been going out. They are having sex with men and they're not telling their girlfriends or their wives that they're gay and their husbands, as well. And it's very prevalent with African American women because they come home and have sex with their wives or their girlfriends. And they're not telling them that they're gay.
Everyone already knows that Shepherd is an idiot, but Hughley actually almost sounds somewhat intelligent as he's discussing this (except for the fact that almost nothing he is saying is accurate or even remotely based on fact). He does not have a medical background, he does not have any knowledge or expertise on the subject of homosexuality or HIV/AIDS... he's an actor-comedian with no formal education on the subject. He's speaking purely from a position of ignorance and homophobia and disguising a very misguided opinion as "fact".

It's very possible that a lot of viewers accepted this misinformation as truth... and the perpetuation of these myths can be damaging to both the gay, bisexual and African-American communities. (It's extra sad that this blatant spreading of ignorance had to come during Pride Week of all times.)

The topic of HIV/AIDS transmission in the African-American community came up as part of a conversation about the FDA's continued refusal to accept blood donations from men who have sex with men. Hughley referenced a Slate.com editorial that posed the question "If it's OK to reject blood from gay men, what about blacks?"
The FDA bases its MSM policy on simple math. "Men who have had sex with men since 1977 have an HIV prevalence … 60 times higher than the general population," the agency observes. "Even taking into account that 75% of HIV infected men who have sex with men already know they are HIV positive and would be unlikely to donate blood," that leaves a population of MSM blood-donor applicants whose HIV prevalence is "over 15 fold higher than the general population."

So a 15-fold difference is good enough to warrant group exclusion. How about a nine-fold difference? According to the Centers for Disease Control, HIV prevalence is eight to nine times higher among blacks than among whites, and HIV incidence (the rate of new infections in a given year) is seven times higher. For black women, HIV prevalence is 18 times higher than for white women. [Emphasis mine]
For the record - for those of you who don't click the link and read the full article (we definitely recommend that you do) - the author is not actually suggesting that the FDA reject blood donors based on race. Rather, he's just making a point about how rejection based solely on "group membership" like sexual orientation or race - regardless of the general numbers - makes less sense than basing it on actual individual risk factors.

Hughley tried to defend the FDA's ban on gay men donating blood by saying that political correctness shouldn't work its way into the medical field. "We have to defer to medical experts," he said. So let's see what the actual experts have to say about his claim that "down low" men are responsible for the high HIV rates among black women:

Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention debunked this myth. The CDC has studied why the HIV/AIDS rates among African-American women is so extremely high (they make up 61% of all new HIV cases among women). Although 80% of African-American women contract HIV through heterosexual contact, this is mainly from men with high-risk behaviors such as having multiple sex partners (primarily female partners, not secret gay male partners) or IV drug use. There are actually "relatively few" infections coming from male partners who are bisexual.

Fenton also explained, "if there is a high prevalence of HIV in a given community and you have sexual partners from that community, your probability of coming into contact with HIV is much higher than others." He said there is currently a concentration of the epidemic "among the poor, among ethnic minorities and racial minorities in the United States" partly because these are "populations which have been historically and traditionally hard to reach and more difficult to serve". He emphasized the importance of tackling stigma and discrimination about the disease.

Shepherd and Hughley's statements will only make that stigma and discrimination worse. The blog BlackGayGossip made this point perfectly:
For the longest time and still today, the black community as a whole has been plagued by lack of education and at times, intentional ignorance when it comes to HIV, which has allowed it to spread as rampant as it has now. [...]
And while we’re on the subject of down low men, ask yourselves this question, “why are these men on the down low?” Allow me to offer some real life reasons: 1) black culture is heavily rooted in the church and whether these men attend church or not, they are bombarded with the message they are going to burn in hell for their homosexual desires, 2) fear of being disowned by their family or evicted from their households (this pertains to males of minor age as well) 3) battery, assault or murder at the hands of a stranger due to intolerance and homophobia. I could keep going but those are three pretty convincing reasons.
Even the CDC sites one of the reasons HIV/AIDS has hit the African-American community the hardest is due to the stigma (negative attitudes, beliefs, and actions directed at people living with HIV/AIDS or directed at people who do things that might put them at risk of HIV). That last part sounds like code for gay men to me. But it’s true that the stigma is grossly damaging our community. Stating THE reason black women are contracting HIV at such high rates is due to men sleeping with men and not telling these women only perpetuates this stigma. [Emphasize mine]
GLAAD contacted ABC and The View, asking them to retract the statement and educate their audience with actual facts.
"Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley's claim that African American gay and bisexual men are ‘primarily' responsible for increased HIV rates among African American women is inaccurate and dangerous," said GLAAD's Senior Director of Programs Rashad Robinson. "Medical experts, including the Centers for Disease Control have dispelled that myth and ABC has a responsibility to its viewers to correct the information. Shepherd and Hughley's comments fuel a climate of homophobia and racism."
The network has refused to correct the false information or take any responsibility for Shepherd's and Hughley's statements.

GLAAD has released a call to action:
Call on "The View" to issue an on-air apology and correct Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley's misrepresentation of African American gay & bisexual men. This program reaches millions of viewers and ABC must ensure that its platforms are not used to perpetuate dangerous falsehoods that put our community in harm's way.

ABC Contacts:
Brad Jamison, Vice President Corporate Initiatives
ABC Television Network

Julie Hoover, Corporate Communications Vice President
ABC Television Network
(212) 456-6641

Bill Geddie, Executive Producer
ABC "The View"
(212) 456-0910
We would like to encourage all of our readers to take part and pass it on!

(If you go to the GLAAD link, there is also a petition you can sign that will send an automatic message to ABC. For the extra-lazy activists out there.)

And while we're sort of on the subject of blood donation... if you've ever donated blood - or at least attempted to - you may be familiar with the donor history questionnaire, but not that many people are actually aware of the fact that homosexual men are in the indefinitely deferred category regardless of their actual risk factors.

You are restricted from giving blood if in the past 12 months you have [partial list]:
  • Come into contact with someone else’s blood
  • Had an accidental needle-stick
  • Had sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis
  • Lived with a person who has hepatitis
  • Had sexual contact with a prostitute or anyone else who takes money or drugs or other payment for sex
  • Had sexual contact with anyone who has ever used needles to take drugs or steroids, or anything not prescribed by their doctor
  • Had sexual contact with anyone who has HIV/AIDS or has had a positive test for the HIV/AIDS virus
You are restricted indefinitely if in the past 33 years (from 1977 to the present) you:
  • Have received money, drugs, or other payment for sex
  • Are male and have had sexual contact with another male, even once
So being gay is riskier than having sex with someone who has HIV/AIDS? Really? So basically... if you had sex with just one man... with whom you were in a monogamous relationship... and you were both virgins beforehand... and it was protected sex... and it only happened once... and you were both tested beforehand and afterward. You can't donate blood.

On the other hand, if you're a man who has had sex with thousands of women... always unprotected... and some of these women were IV drug users... who shared needles... and some of these women were HIV-positive... and you have never been tested. You can donate blood as long as it's been 12 or more months.

Does anyone else see some kind of disconnect here?

Also, it's worth pointing out that the questionnaire doesn't even specifically say "sexual intercourse". It says "sexual contact". What exactly constitutes sexual contact? Is it limited to penile-vaginal or penile-anal sex? Does it include oral sex? Does it include any physical contact (kissing, touching) that might be of a sexual nature?

Way back when I was in college, our school refused to host blood drives for many years because of a non-discrimination policy. That is, they would not allow any organization that would discriminate against any of their students based on sexual orientation. I believe the school now does host blood drives, but at the time they were very torn on the issue. Students disagreed on what was more important: Refusing to tolerate homophobia and discrimination or denying hospitals and blood banks of much needed donations?

I was researching the subject, for a potential article for the school newspaper, and questioned a representative of the Blood Bank on why gay men were restricted from donating blood. She informed me that gay men were at a higher risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. I reminded her that not all gay men are at a higher risk, only those who engage in high risk activities like unprotected anal sex with numerous partners. However women who engaged in the same high risk activities could donate. She didn't understand, so I explained further.
Me: The risk factor isn't "being a gay man". Yes, unprotected anal sex is a higher risk activity, but it would be the same level of risk for a woman.

Idiot: Oooh, you're right! She could have had anal sex with a gay man!
At the time, I couldn't believe the idiocy of her answer. However, now Sherri Shepherd and D.L. Hughley are given full freedom to repeat this kind of idiocy on television. And ABC doesn't care.

That might be the most annoying part of this incident... Sherri Shepherd said some stupid shit. That probably happens every day on The View, but when an organization contacts you and says that what she said was not only totally wrong and offensive, but also potentially harmful with really serious consequences - you don't just blow them off. Why shouldn't she and Hughley be held accountable? Why shouldn't ABC take responsibility?

Please contact ABC and let them know that they need to take responsibility for what happened on The View and make a public apology and correction.


June 24, 2010

Slutty Celebrity Quote: Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera recently did an interview with Company magazine to promote her new album, Bionic, and she had some interesting things to say about women and sexuality.
Christina Aguilera's risqué outfits, skin-tight costumes and provocative photo shoots aren't just for show. The singer says her sexy image is her way of getting out what she believes is an important message.BIONIC - DELUXE (Explicit)

"I feel sexuality to be very empowering," the singer, 29, tells U.K. magazine Company in its July issue. "I think men love to believe that they own our sexuality, so if a woman represents herself in a sexual way, people think, 'Oh it must be for a man.'"

"But men don't have the right to own our sexuality," she says. "If I want to be sexual, it's for my own appreciation and enjoyment! That's why I like to talk about the fact that sometimes I am attracted to women. I appreciate their femininity and beauty."

Before calling her a feminist, be warned, Aguilera says she doesn't like to get into labels. Instead, she's simply fighting "for women's rights in the sense that we shouldn't be ashamed of ourselves or our bodies." [People.com]
Most of the comments that I saw about this just focused on 'OMG she's not a feminist!' and ignored the rest. I did the opposite for a couple of reasons. I haven't read the full Company interview, but the line about feminism in the People summary is a little vague and doesn't really give us the context, so we don't know if she was explicitly asked if she was a feminist and said no or if she just made a more general statement about not liking labels. And even if she didn't want to drop the f-bomb in this interview for whatever reason, I don't think it means that the comments that she did make aren't worth discussing and taking seriously.

UNIVERSAL CITY,   CA - JUNE 06: Christina Aguilera performs onstage at the 2010 MTV Movie   Awards held at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Studios on June 6,   2010 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty   Images)
When Christina performed at the MTV Movie Awards a couple of weeks ago, someone on our twitter feed commented at the end of the performance - yes, after the infamous flashing vagina heart moment - that it was basically a feminism failure that was all about being sexual for men or like men rather than empowering women. (I can't remember who said it and it's too late to dig through a hundred million tweets to find, which is why I'm paraphrasing and not linking to the specific tweet.)

I thought these comments were interesting considering that the song Christina was performing, called Woohoo, is basically an ode to cunnilingus. (Soon to be a welcome addition to many people's themed mix CDs, I'm sure.) It's a cocky and fun song about demanding sexual pleasure on your own terms. Sure, it's not I Am Woman, but it's also not I'm A Slave 4 U. So if some people are ready to dismiss a performance like that as something that must be just for men and couldn't possibly be at all empowering to women, I think that just illustrates that Christina has a point worth examining.

So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Christina Aguilera? And more importantly, what songs would you put on your oral sex playlist?

June 23, 2010

Show your pride this week in NYC!

Hey there, we just wanted to remind everyone in the New York area about all the Pride events happening this week! Here is just a sampling of awesome events happening in NYC this week (please check out the official calendar on the Heritage of Pride website HOPinc.org for a full list of events - there's so much more great stuff you won't want to miss!)

Wednesday - June 23, 2010

The NYC Pride Kick Off Celebration is tonight, Wednesday June 23, 2010. The party (presented by Spin Cycle/sponsored by Barefoot Wine) will feature a guest performance by none other than RuPaul's Drag Race's very own Pandora Boxx! Gramercy Theatre from 8:00pm-10:00pm.
(Click on photo to enlarge and view the full info.)

Free tickets - gay.barefootwine.com
Media Inquiries - mbianchi@hunterpr.com

Thursday - June 24, 2010

Pride Ride (presented by Bike the Big Apple) is a guided bicycle tour through NYC's LGBT heritage. Starting in the Upper East Side from 10:00am-4:30pm. Advance reservations required. $95 per person (includes bike, helmet, licensed guides and lunch).

Friday - June 25, 2010

AIDS Candlelight Vigil in memory of all people who died of HIV/AIDS and in support of survivors and those currently afflicted with HIV/AIDS. (AIDS Candlelight Vigil NYC is not associated with any political or religious agency.) 7:30 pm at Stonewall Place & 7th Avenue South.

Saturday - June 26, 2010

Rapture on the River: A Women's Dance at Pier 54 (13th Street at the West Side Highway - Hudson River Park) 6:00pm-11:00pm. The official NYC Pride Week Women's Dance (Music by Susan Morabito). 

Advanced tickets $25 / Day of tickets $35
A limited number of VIP Combo tickets are available for $45 (includes one free drink ticket, access to the VIP Lounge at Rapture, and admission to Pier Pressure 11, the official Rapture after-party)

Sunday - June 27, 2010

The Pride March will step-off at noon at 36th Street & 5th Ave.
More info - hopinc.org  (Complete march order: here)

PrideFest (the annual LGBT street fair) combines vendors, entertainers and community activities for a day of fun celebration of LGBT pride in the name of equality. FREE and open to the public. It will be Sunday from 11:00am-7:00pm on Hudson Street between Abingdon Square and West 14th Street (Click to view Map

June 21, 2010

The Gates: Another Vampire Show That Kinda Sucks

So did anyone else watch The Gates last night? My first reaction to the trailer for this show was "ugh, another show about vampires and werewolves." Then my immediate second reaction was "Cool... another show about vampires and werewolves!" Now having seen the show I'm thinking I might be leaning more towards that first reaction, but I can't completely decide how I feel yet...

[Warning: This review will contain spoilers.]

Apparently ABC thought there was still room for one more show about supernatural creatures living in suburbia... Sunday was a risky night to air a new vampire drama... ABC was smart enough to schedule this for 10pm (ET) instead of 9pm, when True Blood airs on HBO, but True Blood is by far the superior show. Are viewers really going to be able to handle an extra hour of bloody goodness every Sunday night? Especially when the first one is far superior?

That's not to say that The Gates totally sucks (no pun intended). But this concept has been done so many times by now that a show really needs something extra special to catch our attention. And so far it hasn't caught mine. I think I need to see a few more episodes before I can really know for sure, but so far I'm not a huge fan. It's not a terrible show... but it seems like it can't tell exactly what it wants to be yet. It's been billed a "supernatural crime drama" but I'm not really buying the "crime drama" angle. Yes, there are crimes, but it's a lot more of a melodramatic evening soap opera-type show than a crime show. (Think Desperate Housewives... if the housewives were also vampires and witches.... and the cute young guys were werewolves.) In the same way that The Vampire Diaries is your typical CW show like 90210 with supernatural themes thrown in, The Gates is your typical ABC evening drama like Housewives. And it's certainly dramalicious, but so far it hasn't drawn me in.

The show follows the story of Nick Monahan and his family who has moved from Chicago to a quiet, upscale planned community called The Gates, where he will be chief of police. And bloody supernatural hijinks ensue! Monahan is played by Frank Grillo who you may recognize from Prison Break and his wife is played by Marisol Nichols, who I will admit that I love... although I don't completely buy her as the mother of a teenager (although technically I know she is old enough to be one, she still looks like a teenager).

I was also pleased to see Rhona Mitra starring in a show and she does an excellent job with the slightly creepiness that the role of a vampire housewife requires (craving blood while feeling sorta guilty about it). Of course, she's already got plenty of experience playing a vampire in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. She also stared in a werewolf movie, Skinwalkers, but she played a human being. Although it's a little hard accepting Luke Mably, who plays her vampire husband, as a bloodsucker when I just keep thinking of him in The Prince and Me and then I start to laugh and then I'm not scared of him at all, no matter how sharp his fangs are. The rest of the cast is relatively forgettable... but I'll give them a few more episodes to prove themselves.

Of course, my first complaint is that the vampires in The Gates can walk around in daylight. Between Twilight and The Vampire Diaries we've just about had enough of these rule-bending mythologies. (At least these vamps wear sunscreen.) There are also a few bitchy witches and werewolves that are played basically as football jocks with 'roid rage. Also, interestingly enough the werewolves not only have super strength, speed, and hearing... but they also work as semi-human-lie-detectors, which is a pretty cool. Except that so far all the werewolves are also douchebags.

I think this show would do better if ABC had been a little smarter with its scheduling... They should've done what The Vampire Diaries did... Their first season premiered while True Blood was on hiatus and ended a few weeks before True Blood's season 3 premiere. It was the perfect filler for those of us who were needing a vampire fix and didn't have to compete for fans. Or if they insisted on trying for a summer hit, put it on Thursdays or Fridays... just when people are starting to get a little stir crazy waiting for the next episode of True Blood and will watch anything vamp-related in the meantime. But airing immediately after viewers have already gotten their fix of the best vampire show on TV... that just isn't smart, no matter how great The Gates ends up being (which if last night's episode is any indication, isn't that great... yet).

The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have no direct or indirect affiliation or involvement with ABC's The Gates.

Make Music NY - TODAY

We just wanted to take a quick minute to let all of our readers from the New York area know (if you don't already) that today is Make Music New York...

Make Music New York is a unique festival of free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City, all on Monday, June 21st. 

MMNY takes place simultaneously with similar festivities in more than 327 cities around the world — a global celebration of music making. From 11 in the morning to 10 at night, musicians of all ages, creeds, and musical persuasions — from hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock — perform on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, cemeteries, parks and gardens. From high school bands to marquee names, MMNY is open to anyone who wants to take part, enjoyed by everyone who wants to attend. [makemusicny.org]

One of the greatest things about New York City is that we have such an eclectic music scene... so we can't wait to see what MMNY has in store for us today. Go here to check out the schedule. You can search by neighborhood, venue, artist, or genre of music. There's something for almost everyone!

What a wonderful way to celebrate the Summer Solstice... listening to music outside in the beautiful weather. Hope everyone in the area is able to check it out, even if that just means passing by on your way to or from work.

June 20, 2010

Amanda Bynes You Will Be Missed...

So apparently Amanda Bynes announced on Twitter that she is retiring from acting...

This is actually really upsetting for me. Those of you who are longtime readers will no doubt remember how much I love Miss Bynes.

I definitely understand why she might want to quit acting - or at least take a temporary break. She's been working in the industry since she was just a kid, getting her start on Nickelodeon's All That in 1996 and then moving on to her own spin-off The Amanda Show. So I do understand how she might already be burnt out and disenchanted with the industry at the young age of 24. But just this past January she was on the cover of Cosmo, talking about how she's ready to start a new stage in her career (taking on more adult roles).

It makes me sad that "young Hollywood" is going to lose her. I don't think that children should look up to actors and other celebrities because being famous doesn't necessarily mean that you're a good role model. However as far as young women in show business go, Amanda Bynes was pretty good. Not perfect, obviously - because who is? - but compared to some of the other stars out there, she ain't half bad.

She's definitely beautiful (even if by society's unfair standards) but not in an unnatural or unhealthy way. She's thin but doesn't look anorexic or malnourished. She has the acting chops to do serious scenes, but also the guts to go all out for laughs. She has never been above doing the really funny, goofy comedic work. She's not afraid to look silly or even look "ugly". I know that she hasn't always had a lot of creative control behind the shows and movies she starred in (maybe she did on The Amanda Show?) so I can't say how intentional her choices were... but basically, you won't see many other young actresses do some of the physical humor scenes that she does...

So while I'm going to wish Amanda the best (and not-so-secretly hope that she reconsiders and makes a comeback!) I'm definitely going to miss her... and I'm heartbroken over the fact that she's never going to fulfill remake casting fantasy of starring in a remake of Sixteen Candles opposite Channing Tatum. Hey, a girl can dream.

But of course, we will be going to the theater to see Amanda in Easy A this September. It may very well be Amanda's last movie... we wouldn't miss it for the world. In the meantime we'll be planning our very own Amanda Bynes Movie Marathon. We suggest you do the same. Here are some suggestions: