Well guys, it’s been a good run, and I have some news: today was my last day of work for Joani Blank.
She’s sad to be losing an awesome personal assistant, and I’m sad to be leaving such a sweet, awesome, inspirational employer, but we’ll still be neighbors and friends and I expect I’ll still be over here fixing her computer sometimes. Joani will be getting a new assistant who’ll take over this blog, and they’ll be making a post introducing themselves here in a day or two. Please give them a chance, because they’re really cool.
In the meantime, I’m going to be pursuing ministry at either the Starr King School for the Ministry or the Pacific School of Religion. If you’re in the area, feel free to stay hi.
Only 2 days remain to pledge to the Center for Sex and Culture’s Grace Alley Mural project on Offbeatr. This project will only succeed if at least $2,000 is raised by December 22, 11:30 pm. We’re over the half-way mark at this time of writing, but we’ll need your help to make it to the finish line.
The Center for Sex & Culture is in the process of conceptualizing and creating a public art project, the Grace Alley Mural Project, to be featured on the exterior of the Center for Sex & Culture building on the wall at Grace Alley. We have a team of our very own notorious (and not-so-notorious) muralists prepared to collaborate on this Mural, a highlight of San Francisco’s sexual history and culture. Our group of talented artists includes Eddie Colla, Finley Coyl, Amandalynn, and Éclair Acuda Bandersnatch. Their work on Grace Alley will pay homage to our city’s past sexual renegades, founders, activists and healers.
The Mural will be situated amidst nightlife, non-profits, neighborhood residential and mixed commerce — but it’s also a location in need of beautification to our Public Spaces. It will emphasize the good work of non-profit organizations centered around sex, enhance the good work we are doing here and let the surrounding community know we are an organization that plans to stay and grow in this neighborhood. The Mural will be a celebration of sex-positivity, knowledge and the work San Francisco has pioneered and achieved on behalf of sexual health, education and openness.
This Mural is a true labor of love — for sex, the community and the sex community, but we ask for your financial support to make this loving project really happen. Specifically, your monetary donations would help toward the rental of electric scissor lifts (to be used to physically elevate the artists as they work on the wall), artists’ commissions and project supplies. Any contributions you may be able to provide toward that estimation will be deeply cherished!
To see more images of the Grace Alley Mural Project follow us on Facebook, visit our Tumblr, or come see it in person at 1349 Mission Street in San Francisco, but we need your donations to fill this wall with art.
Donation levels and rewards:
Pledge what you want (and choose to select or not select a reward)
The first 20 donors to contribute $10 will receive a “safe sex play” gift bag! all the things you need to get it on— safely.
Pledge $15 or more: Vintage Porn Magazine Stash.
The first 10 donors to contribute $15 will receive hand picked vintage porn stash— featuring classics from Playboy, Hustler, Playgirl, and others.
Donors who pledge $50 or more, will receive a specially created sound recording of a woman pleasuring herself to orgasm — just for you.
The first 3 donors to contribute $60 will be granted Basic Membership to the Center for Sex & Culture. A $60 value that includes-Discounts on events and classes. Invitation to member-only events.
The first 10 donors to contribute $100 will be granted free library membership at the Center for Sex & Culture (a $100 value).
$20 PLEDGE IS NOW SOLD OUT!
Autographed book from Carol Queen.
$50 PLEDGE IS NOW SOLD OUT!:
Center for Sex & Culture Goodie Swag Bag
—-About the Center for Sex and Culture—-
The Mission of the Center for Sex & Culture is to provide judgment-free education, cultural events, a library/media archive, and other resources to audiences across the sexual and gender spectrum; and to research and disseminate factual information, framing and informing issues of public policy and public health.
Inspired by the work of Dr. Harriet Lerner, author of many books, including Marriage Rules, The Dance of Fear, The Dance of Intimacy, and The Dance of Anger, Joani has started the blog V Is For Vulva. For many years now Lerner has been trying to raise “vulva-conscousness,” ie: get people to stop using the word “vagina” when they mean “vulva,” and now Joani’s picked up that torch.
Bapu gets a toweling off after a walk in the rain.
This song is also Joani’s life. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be a personal assistant to that?
I think this episode of My Little Pony may be Joani’s life. Except for the part where Joani can’t clone herself, which is a good thing, because that would make my job really difficult.
Joani got this really precious card from the White House. I wonder if everyone who contributed to the Obama campaign got one? Too bad it didn’t also come with a photo of the First Family!
It’s an Android phone, which is unfortunate because she has several Apple products that she’s learned to use fairly well (an iPad and an iPod Touch), and an iPhone probably would have had an easier learning curve, but beggars can’t be choosers; she got this phone for free, since it used to belong to one of her granddaughters.
Fortunately, I have an Android phone, so I’ve been able to teach her how to use it. (We recorded her voice mail message today!) But there’s a lot new here, so if you try to call Joani on her cellphone and it doesn’t work out, that’s why. She has a land line where she prefers to take most of her calls, anyway.
Well, for a long time, lots of people. Including scholars. Particularly black scholars.
If sex was once difficult to discuss openly, black sex was especially fraught. It touched on too many taboos: stereotypes and caricatures of “black Hottentots” with freakish feminine proportions; of asexual mammies or lascivious Jezebels; of hypersexual black men lusting after white women. It brought up painful memories of white control over black bodies during slavery; of rape and lynching; of Emmett Till, a teenager tortured and murdered in 1955 for supposedly flirting with a white woman; of the controversial 1965 “Moynihan Report,”which called black family structures and reproductive patterns “a tangle of pathology.” Or of Anita Hill in 1991, testifying before the U.S. Senate about alleged black-on-black sexual harassment.
Old tropes have continued to permeate popular culture and public commentary, whether a national furor over Janet Jackson’s exposed breast, a recent blog post on Psychology Today’s Web site (later retracted)to the effect that black women are less physically attractive than other women, or the barrage of news stories about a “marriage crisis” among black women who cannot find suitable mates. Witness remarks about the artists Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj, the tennis star Serena Williams, or Michelle Obama that harp on their ample backsides. Remember last year, when Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, quipped about the first lady’s “large posterior”? And this summer, when the Killers’ drummer, Ronnie Vannucci, described how he accidentally found himself “grabbing her ass” during a hug?
Consider also how television repeatedly offers sexualized images of black men, whether parodying the half-naked (but not threatening) body of Isaiah Mustafa, the hunky Old Spice guy; hauling black men on stage, as Maury Povich does, to allow “baby mamas” to give them the results of paternity tests; or giving us the gargoylesque rapper-turned-crackhead-turned-reality-TV star Flava Flav, who searches for love among scores of uncouth women who humiliate themselves as they compete for his attention.
“The white imagination still traffics in toxic racial and gender stereotypes,” says Beverly Guy-Sheftall, a professor of women’s studies at Spelman College. Talking about sex “means that we are engaging in and calling up discussions of black sexuality that we think underscore what white people say about us. That leads to silence.”
Read the rest (featuring the brilliant Mireille Miller-Young, no less) at The Chronicle of Higher Education here.
Joani was so taken by Mireille Miller-Young at the Good Vibrations Sex Summit that I thought she’d like to take a look at this article. (It’s a long article, Joani, just so that you’re prepared.)
One night in the bath, my five-year-old son poked at his testicles. “What are these things called again?”
“They’re called testicles, but sometimes people call them balls,” I said.
He seemed momentarily satisfied, but the next night, on the toilet, he returned to the subject.
“These tentacles…” he started.
“Testicles,” he repeated. “What are they for?”
We’ve always talked about bodies and used correct language for anatomy. But this conversation felt different. Waylon’s questions were self-initiated and specific. After offering a hastily constructed answer, I consulted my parenting books. They counseled me to offer my child correct, technical, and honest information and to avoid overwhelming him with any information that wasn’t age-appropriate and that he didn’t need to know yet.
Sure, that sounds easy. Just like walking a tightrope. My son has the disposition of an attorney. His favorite questions are “Why?” and “What about…?”
I thought it would make things easier to keep the conversation factual and age-appropriate if I had some nice, feminist, LGBT-affirming book for talking to kids about their bodies. So I did the laziest thing in the world. I went to Amazon.com and searched for children’s books about sexuality.
Read the rest here.
I was disappointed not to see Joani Blank’s A Kid’s First Book About Sex and The Playbook for Kids About Sex on this list. Both books are out of print, so I guess that’s to be expected, but they’re available for free download on Joani’s website. They probably don’t fulfill the author’s requirement for a book that addresses gender issues—Joani wrote these like 30 years ago—but they’re body and sex positive, don’t address sexuality solely as a matter of reproduction, and are inclusive of alternate sexualities (if not necessarily alternate genders). The Playbook doesn’t even need a parent in the room—that’s something a parent can leave in the living room for their child to “find” and fill out.
And best of all, they’re FREE.