Before I start, just so you know, you should read this article because there’s a picture of two people sexing at the end. (end of advertisement).

moneyAbout a week ago (which tells you how long I’ve put off actually writing this because I didn’t want to express myself badly), Kylie Sturgess wrote her article, “Sex(hausted)?” In her post, she ponders the availability of science and if people should or should not market science using sexy gimmicks. Instantly, I was linked to her several times. Clearly, this is something that falls right into my realm. So, why the delay in responding? Because, the questions that Kylie asks and the things she said are, as she mentioned, pretty complicated, and here’s why.

Sex sells, sometimes. Sometimes, sex doesn’t sell. Does that make any sense? Let me explain more.

The reason sex sells is because it leads to an emotional response in the person being exposed to it that leads to memory and recognition. This works just like the classical conditioning that we see mentioned throughout studies in behavioral psychology. Emotions and memory are good, old pals that affect our behavior all the time and they’re very intimate bedmates in our brains. When people create advertisements for anything, that’s usually what they’re aiming for. They want consumers to associate their product with something strongly enough that it influences their purchases. Sex is a very strong innate drive that we have and it is a drive that is also a bedmate with our emotion and memory (we will not judge our brains, here, for their sexual habits, O. K.?). Because of this, sex can sell and it does sell.

This does not mean that sex will always sell, though. We have otheforsaler natural drives and motives that can make sex something that is simply unimportant or less important than other things. This is why, when advertising something, the context of the advertisement is important to the advertiser. Selling sex is much easier in the midst of a Super Bowl game than it is in the midst of most of PBS and NPR’s Free Lectures. That isn’t to say that sex can’t sell in that context, it just doesn’t sell quite as well.

The problem with the “sex sells” meme is that people don’t understand how sex sells. Just saying “sex sells” is simplistic and ignores greater, more important things such as context and also what it is that you’re trying to sell. So, on top of the context-appropriate things to bear in mind from my above examples, there’s also the matter of considering what it is that you’re selling. If I’m selling a dong, I naturally need horny people, who would use it, to buy it. Advertising it in the midst of the series Murder She Wrote may not be the best place for it. Nor would that series make for a good stage to advertise things like  a work-out series or equipment, birth control or a gay night club because the viewers of such a series are mostly older, post-menopausal, women who are less likely to be into those things. (Note: I know not all viewers are older or post-menopausal, there will be exceptions. Advertisers don’t aim for minority groups very often, though, they aim for efficiency and so they’ll aim for high concentrations of their target audience/consumer). So putting an advertisement up for a 12″ deer penis replica (NSFW) during a show about an older lady who solves the murders that seem to magically happen every where she goes is probably not going to do more than cause a few strokes of the serious misplaced blood flow type, not the penile stiffening kind.

deer-penis

So, now that all that is explained, let’s look at some of Kylie’s comments about the subject:

Just how badly (or well?) is the promotion of scientific findings being done now anyway? Is it ‘resorting to dirty tactics’ to have sex do the selling? Particularly in this ‘third-wave feminism’ era, when there is no demonstrably all-encompassing single feminist idea? Am I being sexist if I think that it’s only about using female sex-appeal?

To answer the first question, science is being promoted now better than ever. The internet has given us the tools to spread science farther and faster than ever before in history. The downside is, the internet provides the same tools for those who are anti-science and who spread misinformation for various reasons.

It is not resorting to dirty tactics to sell something with sex just as it isn’t resorting to dirty tactics to sell something with a picture of someone smiling or with food. Sex is an innate drive and it is as much a part of us as eating, drinking, sleeping and debating social norms are. Sex is not something that should be overlooked as an educational or motivational tool, if we need it.

I think that the debate of using sex for productive things other than reproduction is a great way, actually, to bring feminist debates into a realm where we can debate them more. Debate and discussion is important in the improvement of our worldviews and so where feminism is approaching a diversity in views comparable to world religions, I think using sex is a direct route to not only causing a little chaos in the feminist world, but also allowing for growth. Consider an element of fertilizer for sexual-social debates, like Miracle-Gro and soybean rotating crops.

Oh, sexism, I could talk all day about it! However, I need to limit this to a not-so-short paragraph and I’ve already taken two sentences. Sexism, by definition, is a discrimination based on sex. So, while just focusing on this being about female sex appeal is sexist, it is not unreasonably sexist. Most sexual advertising targets men and uses women, so it is natural for that to be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re talking about marketing using sex. The reason for this is that we’re only just now seeing how to use sex appeal to target women. Because women and men respond to different types of sexual stimuli, the tactics to draw men in with sexual advertising are different than those that draw women in and advertisers haven’t quite gotten a handle on that, yet.

Kylie was also sharp enough to point to problems with sexual advertising and cultural norms (though, she didn’t say it in those terms, so check out her article for a well-thought description). She says:

Perhaps there’s communities where explicit content will be completely out of the question, despite a keen demographic who may wish to encourage rationalism? Or ones where explicit depictions of a sexualised figure is seen as overtly aggressive, irrelevant or distracting to people, and just plain gender-divisive (as illustrated in the research).

This is why context is important. Knowing one’s audience in advertising is extremely important. Not only is it important to know who you’re targeting, but it is important to know how strong your messages should be for that audience. Sexual marketing is not as simple as always being as extreme as showing breasts wrapped around a bottle of beer or something. Instead, if one does choose to go the route of sexual advertising, the majority of the target audience has to be considered. For some cultures, that does mean that sexual marketing is as simple as just showing a pretty set of eyes or some nice hands along with a product. Sometimes, it is actually showing some clothes-flying, body-clawing, animalistic action (even if the animalistic action is closer to a turtle motion than some sexually aggravated cats).

I’m skipping over parts of Kylie’s post that would require entire articles, themselves, to respond to and am going to address her conclusion itself:

Maybe, I conclude, the promotion of science via sex-appeal isn’t really the easy answer I was once given via email. I guess that’s why I now tend more towards a generally conservative, broad-umbrella approach, that has a better chance of reaching more people – rather than putting all my energies and trust into ‘being sexy in order to sell science’.

This is actually the best conclusion that could have been reached. The reason, though, is because the conclusion is about Kylie’s approach, itself. The final reality of trying to promote something is that the person doing the promoting has to be comfortable with how they’re promoting themselves. There’s no reason to change who you are and to create conflict with yourself over a question without a rational basis for it, just to sell some information. This brings me to the problem of advertising, itself.

I’m a very logic-driven person. I like my facts like I like my computer hard drives, dry and full of informational goodness. Advertising isn’t about facts, usually. Advertising is about impressions and, sometimes, manipulating an audience into giving attention to something specific. Even when the goal is education, advertising is still needed to get attention and the potential for manipulation in advertising is something that is uncomfortable to those of us who like to promote critical thinking. But dry facts don’t always educate because, as mentioned above, people remember things better that stimulate their emotions. This means that while we’re educating, it is a handy talent to have to mix our logic-driven Vulcans with our emotionally intelligent Betazoids (yes, groan, groan for my bad geek analogies!). So, if we’re using something to advertise, especially sex, it would be handy to be sure that using sex as a lure for our doesn’t cloud the actual goal with something irrational.

troy-sexing-spock

sexucationI remember back in the day when life was so much simpler. When my younger  brother and I would walk down the halls of our school and sing various back and forth duets like the Cookie Jar song and Anything You Can Do. He is a year and a half younger than me and is the only one of my many siblings who I have ever consistently gotten along with. He knows more of my secrets than my other siblings do, he knows about more of the jobs that I’ve had and he has never judged me. That has always been the case. We have always been very close. Back in High School, that meant that when I was doing Teacher’s Assistant work in my brother’s Special Ed class, where he was placed only because he’s Dyslexic and the teachers hadn’t come up with a better plan for him, yet, we were able to distract the kids in class at times by singing back and forth through the class room. I could start off with, “Hey, J___, Anything you can do, I can do better! I can do anything better than you!” His reply was often more enthusiastic than my singing as he replied, “No, you can’t!” And the duet would continue, with us singing it again afterward in switched roles.

But this post really isn’t about my younger brother and his relationship with me so much as it is about a very controversial topic. I mention my brother only because my relationship with him led me to an interaction with a girl who  once offered me a little insight into this debate (though, unintentionally). Once upon a time, my brother, J___, had a girlfriend who was more than just a little crazy. You couldn’t really trust most things that she said and, even though she was crazy, my brother worshiped her as if she was the reason flowers bloom in the spring and ladybugs have spots and cow poo makes good fertilizer. J___’s girlfriend happened to also be honest only when she was drunk, sometimes. This was the only time I could tolerate her and this was also the time she usually picked to tell me everything she couldn’t tell anyone else. It was at one such moment that I got to hear what she said was her deepest secret. She had, according to her, had four abortions.

I have been pro-choice for a long time and I have done my part in advocating a 14241_101554679872905_100000551216820_39146_675293_nwoman’s right to choose. T’s stories made me even more so. T had two babies before she had her first abortion. Both babies were given up to the state because T had a substance abuse problem that led to her neglecting her children. T’s first abortion was something she wasn’t entirely coherent for. She was addicted to meth (by the time I had met her, it had rotted her teeth out) and she was high when she checked in for the procedure. For her second abortion, the details are less clear, but T had stated that her ex-boyfriend had pressured her into it, him not wanting to have a baby and for some reason, she remembered no other details. Her third abortion was something she said she was sober for and was done because she felt she couldn’t handle having another baby. Then, at a time when she had finally cleaned up and was off drugs and alcohol for a while, she had a baby with my brother. After that pregnancy, she decided she didn’t want any more children and wanted to be sterilized. This led to the last abortion. An accident by a careless doctor who neglected to test if she was pregnant before the sterilization procedure.

I don’t tell T’s extremely paraphrased story to give the reader something to base a stereotype on. I tell it, instead, because T’s story contains several stories that get encountered frequently in the great abortion debate. It is not uncommon for people to mention the girl who gets an abortion unwillingly and for that to be used as a scare story in the debate. It is also not uncommon for stories of people making the decision to abort because it is the responsible thing to do. And, every once in a while, there is a story of someone who experiences an accident and ties it (irrationally) to the abortion debate. There is more to T’s stories, though. T was not entirely pro-choice. Sometimes, she claimed to be pro-life because that’s what her god wanted and sometimes she claimed to be pro-choice. Furthermore, T was a story teller and it makes it difficult to know which of her stories were true and which were not. T could very well have been telling me these stories because she knew about my work with other feminists and because my family seem to perceive me as a militant, man-hating feminazi* and T liked to be important.

Regardless of where T’s story comes from, it allows us to ask some questions about abortion to test our own limits on what we accept and what is rational to accept in the abortion debate. I should mention here, for the sake of complete honesty, that I’m 100% pro-choice. I have a bias. I’m not opposed to people trying to alter my position, but they would have to give me a pretty damned convincing argument and I’m doubtful that such a thing will happen. That admission being out of the way, I still think my stance is the most rational one to have and I’m going to use some of T’s experiences to back it up. For this particular post, I’m going to argue against the pro-life arguments on this about.com list. I know there is already a set of pro-choice arguments on the same page, but I feel that those points don’t really do justice to the claims that are made. Please do make note of them, though, if you’re particularly serious about this subject. I’m also using it because it appears to be the least biased presentation that I’ve found and I like to give the opposing side a fair shake.

1. Since life begins at conception, abortion is akin to murder as it is the act of taking human life. Abortion is in direct defiance of the commonly accepted idea of the sanctity of human life

murder_sceneFirstly, life begins (began) long before conception. Life began billions of years ago. The creation of sperm is not a stopping point for life and neither is the development of an egg. By definition, these are elements of life. There is no magical point at conception where the egg and sperm suddenly begin life again after previously having been not alive. There is also no point in which an egg or a sperm produced naturally by a human’s sex organs is not human. So modern human life, having begun some 85-150,000 years ago, does not begin again every time a sperm and egg dance the dirty chicken in a pelvic theater. That being said, something being killed while existing as a human life doesn’t mean that a murder has been committed. There are lots of instances where human life is terminated and it is accepted and not murder. If I get gangrene in my finger, for example, there is no ethical problem in me having a doctor cut it off and essentially kill that part of me. If I get cancer, which would share my DNA and would likely kill me, there’s not an ethical problem with me having that removed and killed, either.

The definition of murder tends to be related to law and killing of a human, but it can also mean to kill inhumanely. While the above quote from about.com is careful in its wording, it is not uncommon to hear pro-life arguments that claim directly that abortion is murder. So, I’m going to quickly examine that as well. Because the word murder is a reference to law, an abortion can’t logically be murder unless the law specifies that. This means that the argument equating abortion to murder is already logically flawed unless they are constantly using the verb ‘murder’ to describe a barbaric act. This is also problematic because if they were using that definition, they would be using it in a grammatically incorrect manner, at least. Instead, they are actually using what is known as the fallacy of the Ambiguous Middle. The term ‘murder,’ in this case has more than one possible meaning which can carry the connotation of one meaning while being used as the other. This fallacy is also being coupled with an emotional language fallacy. I’m assuming the arguers want the two to mate and have baby fallacies to abort, but I digress.

The problem that people have with the sperm and egg version of human life is that they separate it, conceptually, from other parts of our body. They consider it another entity. This is not unjustified as, for some time (not very long, really) the blastocyst created by the sperm and egg really is a separate entity. But even though it is genetically not the same as its host and it spends a little time floating about in a flow of host-slime, it also fast becomes a part of its host again. It doesn’t stay a separate entity.

Sometimes this entity is unwelcome. Based on the above idea, this unwelcome entity should be protected based on what they consider a commonly accepted sanctity of human life. As mentioned above, though, not all human life is worthy of protection. Instead, we have to select, hopefully through some logical means, what human life is worthy of protection and what human life is not. The above argument doesn’t do that.

So what about T’s situation? T believed in the sanctity of life according to her religion and her position on abortion varied by situation. Sometimes, she expressed remorse when discussing her abortions because her religion said that she did something wrong. Sometimes, though, she considered her situations to justify at least two of her abortions. The time when she made the most sense, though, was when she said that the two abortions that mattered the most to her were the two where she clearly didn’t make the decision. The two cases where she didn’t even get to make the decisions for herself, when her ex boyfriend pressured her into an abortion and when the doctor accidentally aborted her pregnancy, she felt sadness. This was mostly because she didn’t get to make the decision and in the case of the accidental abortion, she said she would have liked to have carried out that pregnancy, had she known about it.

Recently, intention to maintain a pregnancy has become a matter of courtroom debate,

For someone who's holding a sign that highlights the fact that he's condemned to life in prison, he sure doesn't look terribly unhappy about it.

For someone who's holding a sign that highlights the fact that he's condemned to life in prison, he sure doesn't look terribly unhappy about it.

redefining what is murder and what is not. These cases are loosely related to what happened after T’s accidental abortion. After the doctor’s big mistake, T was able to sue him for malpractice, which they settled out of court for a few thousand dollars (I don’t know how much it was, exactly, as T broke up with my brother shortly before the settlement). In her case, her possible intention to maintain the pregnancy played a major role in her argument that she had suffered a loss. So she lost a pregnancy that she didn’t know existed, but may have wanted and it had an actual monetary value for her. This happened not long after the trial of Scott Peterson, who was convicted of the murder of his wife and their unborn child. The intention of keeping the baby played a role in Peterson being convicted for second-degree murder of the fetus. T’s stance on her pregnancy had to be considered, according to her lawyer, as an unknown. They could prove a potential loss, but could not really prove that there was a certain loss because she was unable to make a decision. This also meant that while the doctor accidentally killed a fetus that she might have wanted to keep, there was no potential for a murder trial, especially since it happened as a result of sterilization. T’s case was not murder, it was simply malpractice.

So, while abortion can be murder, it is not, by definition, murder.

2. No civilized society permits one human to intentionally harm or take the life of another human without punishment, and abortion is no different.

No human society except every society that has ever existed, you mean.

As I recall, a civilized society did this.

As I recall, a civilized society did this.

There has yet to exist any society that protects us all from harm from others. There has yet to be a society that has existed that didn’t have rules about circumstances when they thought it was perfectly ok to destroy a human life. Be it a matter of war or punishment; ethnic cleansing or sacrifice, humans have made it a habit to kill human life in the context of every civilization ever known. To claim otherwise is simply a blatant lie.

T’s position in the abortion debate was pretty unstable. However, whenever she took the stance that abortion was absolutely wrong, she would often justify her own situations. The one where she was the most defensive were the cases where she felt she simply couldn’t be a parent at that time. She had already lost the children that she had and she felt that the pregnancies were badly timed and she simply didn’t want them. At times, she told me, she even felt like they were a punishment. She was irresponsible, had already suffered the consequences of that irresponsibility and two children had already been forced to suffer with her for at least a few years. T felt she was an exception to the rule because she didn’t feel that other women were facing the same problems as she. Selfishly, she could not extend her realm of understanding beyond what happened to her and she certainly couldn’t reconcile the actions of others with her religious belief when her own battle existed. Even in her most dogmatic mindset, though, alongside using herself as an exception, T also felt that there were instances where abortion was justified, like in cases of rape and incest. Societies have exceptions for when they feel it is ok to kill humans and T had exceptions for when she thought abortion was ok.

I will note that this particular set of points doesn’t really make a statement as to if abortion is or is not ethical, it simply highlights that the about.com argument is, at least, wrong. Other points on this page will discuss ethics further.

3. Adoption is a viable alternative to abortion and accomplishes the same result. And with 1.5 million American families wanting to adopt a child, there is no such thing as an unwanted child.

Adoption does not accomplish the same thing as abortion. There is a big difference between finishing a pregnancy and ending it before it shows. Furthermore, just wanting to adopt a child doesn’t mean that a person is capable of taking care of that child or that the family who adopts a child is particularly skilled as a parent or that the child will have a wonderful life. Adoption guarantees nothing. Furthermore, in the cases where abortion involves a problem with the fetus, such as a deformity, the chances that child will be adopted are significantly low. Adoption rates also vary considerably when one considers issues such as race, appearance and location. So, while people wanting to adopt a baby may be common, that doesn’t mean that every stopped abortion can result in a child being adopted out to a healthy, loving family. There are already plenty of unwanted and uncared for children out there that serve as ample evidence that adoption has already failed to eliminate the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

T, again, has an experience that relates to this argument. T’s first two pregnancies happened when she was just a teenager. Young, naive and already dabbling in the use of drugs and alcohol, her children were taken from her, as babies, and turned over to foster care. I have nothing negative to say about the parents in this foster home, I simply don’t have any information about them. However, T’s babies were both very pretty children with blond hair and blue eyes. In other words, the matched what is the easiest phenotype to adopt out in the United States. Looking like little, big-eyed elves with shiny-blond hair, they are the very stereotype of what this culture prefers in children. Other children, sadly, don’t always see such a bright future. Non-Caucasian infants and children in the U. S. have to wait to be placed with families and some end up never finding a home. In fact, the older the child gets and the farther away they are from Caucasian, the less likely they seem to be to find a home. Adoption may have been a good option for the two older children that T had, but it certainly isn’t always a fairytale ending.

4. An abortion can result in medical complications later in life; the risk of ectopic pregnancies doubles, and the chance of a miscarriage and pelvic inflammatory disease also increase.

Complications from abortion in a safe and legal clinic are actually pretty rare. Complications from pregnancy are actually significantly higher. From bleeding to blood pressure issues, Pregnancy is not a pretty thing for a woman’s overall health as compared to abortion. Also, do you know what the highest risk factor for ectopic pregnancies is? Pregnancy.

Let me note, for those of you who may be hyperventilating at my highlighting the risks that are involved with pregnancy, I’m not anti-pregnant, I’m anti-deception. It is deceptive to portray abortion as so dangerous when the thing that abortion stops is far more dangerous. By the way, if you want to know about just the minor side effects of pregnancy, see this skepchick post (seriously).

I would use T as an example here, but her pregnancies were pretty much uneventful. Her three abortions prior to having my niece didn’t seem to affect her pregnancy when she had my niece and she seems to suffer no health problems from either her abortions or her pregnancies. She did, however, lose all her teeth due to meth rot. So, drugs are bad, mmmkay?

5. In the instance of rape and incest, proper medical care can ensure that a woman will not get pregnant. Abortion punishes the unborn child who committed no crime; instead, it is the perpetrator who should be punished.

Firstly, there’s not a way to ensure that a woman doesn’t get pregnant by rape or incest. You can reduce the risk tremendously, but it can still happen. Furthermore, in cases where pregnancy is the reason that the rape or incest is revealed, that usually means the pregnancy is already there and is, therefore, not something you can ensure won’t happen. Funny how things like that work. Unless you can travel through time and force the person too-evil-to-even-be-worthy-of-a-clever-insult-from-me to not do what they did, you can’t really ensure no pregnancy will occur. So, until Robocop can turn up and shoot all potential rapists in the crotch like he did in that one scene, in whichever Robocop movie it was, pregnancy will happen sometimes as a result of rape. In fact, in one controversial study, rape seemed to result in pregnancy more often than in instances of consensual sex. This finding was so controversial, though, researchers have hesitated to study the possibility more because of the possible implications.

While I agree that the person who rapes or sexually harms any non-consenting individual should face the consequences for their actions, to claim that aborting a pregnancy is somehow harming a “baby” that doesn’t even posses the capacity for pain or the ability to even conceptualize cause and effect in a way that could lead to them taking the experience of an abortion as a “punishment” is absurd. This is another case of the appeal to emotion fallacy I mentioned earlier. It may be persuasive to use words like “baby” and “punishment” when arguing about abortion, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve made a case that the fetus is a baby, that it has a value that means it should be saved or that it is being punished by the abortion procedure.

6. Abortion should not be used as another form of contraception.

Another version of this argument that I have seen is “Abortion should not be used as birth control.” I’ll address the concept of abortion as contraception, first. By definition, contraception means to prevent conception and implantation. In other words, contraception means either preventing the sperm from entering the egg or preventing the embryo from implanting in the lining of the uterus. These things happen long before an abortion can even be considered! It is logically impossible for abortion to be a contraceptive.

By definition, Birth Control is a way of preventing the birth of a baby. As a result, every abortion is a form of birth control. It does not matter if it happens once or twice or a hundred times. Every time a person has an abortion, it is birth control.

Usually, the abortion as birth control argument crops up when someone makes a claim that some lady had multiple abortions. The usual presentation of this problem implies that the woman was irresponsible and, so, should not be allowed to abort every time she gets into trouble and gets pregnant. I know it is not the best way for me to present my argument, but I’m going to say it anyway. The concept that a woman should have a limit on abortions because she’s irresponsible is a theory that I like to call fucking stupid. Even if a woman is that irresponsible with her girl parts, why the hell would someone want to force someone that irresponsible to be responsible for another human life? If she was so forgetful regarding taking her pill or using a condom, what makes anyone think she’s responsible enough not to forget to take her child out of a shopping cart and bring him home after a day at the grocery store? Clearly, while the girl may have been irresponsible with the pill or condoms, she’s taking a responsible action in understanding that her faults mean that she’d make a shitty parent, and who are we to disagree with that?

Furthermore, just based on what we know about probability, some poor lady could very likely be on the pill and use condoms every time she has sex and still end up getting pregnant four times in a row and needing an abortion. Because when it comes to sperm and eggs starting their pelvic parties, they don’t stop to count how often a girl has had similar such parties in her before.

If a girl is going to have an abortion, her previous abortions shouldn’t matter anyway. If someone has the right to do something, why would the number of times they do it make a difference in later times that they want to do that thing, anyway? If I have the right to breathe, does the number of breaths I take matter in if I should be allowed to take the next breath? How about my other rights? Does the amount of time I spend practicing free speech somehow count against me so that I someday won’t have that right?

T had four abortions, one of which was certainly not her choice and another which she was pressured into. She is an example like those that often are used in support of the ‘abortion as birth control’ argument. Right now, she has had all three of her children taken from her. She’s not allowed to be a parent to her children because she’s not responsible enough. If she somehow managed to get pregnant again and wanted an abortion, it seems like she should have it.

7. For women who demand complete control of their body, control should include preventing the risk of unwanted pregnancy through the responsible use of contraception or, if that is not possible, through abstinence.

Control and responsibility are two different things. Even then, sometimes birth control fails. It isn’t terribly common, but it does happen. In the case of T, one attempt at birth control resulted in an accidental abortion. I’m not going to talk about abstinence other than to say that some studies a few years ago found that even abstinence-only approaches to birth control were not 100% effective in preventing pregnancies or the spreading of STIs. Surprising? Yes. The biggest concern in these studies revolves around non-consensual sex, but other factors include contact with genitals in non-sexual encounters or in erotic play that doesn’t lead to actual sex and sometimes, people’s willpower is simply just not that strong (innate drives are simply difficult to turn off).

By the way, T was raised in a family that promoted the abstinence-only plan. She said she didn’t start taking birth control until after her first pregnancy.

8. Many Americans who pay taxes are opposed to abortion, therefore it’s morally wrong to use tax dollars to fund abortion.

Many Americans who pay taxes are opposed to eating vegetables, NASCAR, immigration, universal health care, welfare, the government, taxes and wearing white after labor day! Just because people are against something doesn’t mean it is immoral or that tax dollars shouldn’t pay for it. I wonder how many white dresses Michelle Obama has in her closet.

By the way, T is anti-interracial marriage, to the point that she and my younger sister ruined my chances of dating a guy that I was once interested in, who happened to be black. I’m glad that I’m now far enough away from them that they can’t do that now, and that their votes are unlikely to prevent the people from marrying outside of their own race.

9. Those who choose abortions are often minors or young women with insufficient life experience to understand fully what they are doing. Many have lifelong regrets afterwards.

According to Guttmacher, the age group with the most abortions is aged 20-24. They’re not minors, at all. In fact, they are women who are old enough to live on their own, make their own life decisions and build careers. Not children. 33% of abortions are performed on this age group. That being said, even if these were irresponsible young women who didn’t understand what they were doing, do you think that they have the life experience to understand fully what they are doing as a parent?

As for regrets, there aren’t many studies on this other than case studies. Of the case studies, most of the regrets that women claimed to have were related to religious ideas and changed opinions in the abortion debate. There isn’t, however, a study showing that there are greater regrets with abortions than pregnancies. That information simply doesn’t seem to exist (yet). So, while you may be able to find people that experience regret over abortions, there’s nothing that shows us that this is a significant problem in women who obtain abortions or that it happens more often than regrets surrounding pregnancy (which also happens, but not in significant numbers).

T did express that she regretted two of her abortions, but what she claimed to regret seemed to be the lack of power she had in the decision-making process. She also experienced regret in association with her religious beliefs, which added an element of guilt. When she wasn’t feeling particularly religious, she didn’t seem to have regrets and claimed she made the right decisions.

10. Abortion frequently causes intense psychological pain and stress.

So does pregnancy.

Abortion is a sensitive topic for most people on either side of the debate. I am 100% pro-choice, but the reason has to do with our rights to our bodies. How can one say that we own our bodies if we do not have the option of removing something unwelcome like we can have someone removed from our homes who is not welcome?  While I may not like that some people have abortions in certain situations, that doesn’t mean that I, or anyone else, should have a say over their actions regarding their own bodies.

There is so much more to be said on this subject, so feel free to comment and I will try to address the topic again in the future.

Note: My brother has custody of the child, S,  that he fathered with T. She is an adorable child, with the same blond hair and blue eyes that her siblings and mother have. My brother is an excellent father and his wife and he are quite happy with their family. My brother’s wife had two children when they got married, so S has two siblings that she gets along with quite well. My brother has made it a point to sing songs with them whenever it seems like a good distraction.

*With a few exceptions, my family doesn’t really know me well.

Why g-strings don’t go in the dryer:

Either that, or if some thongs mirrored the movement of the other thongs, going in exactly the opposite direction, this is further evidence of quantum entanglement!

So, G-String Theory or further evidence of Quantum Entanglement? (I know, two very different concepts, but who said comics have to make sense? Either that, or if some thongs mirrored the movement of the other thongs, going in exactly the opposite direction, this is further evidence of quantum entanglement!

shoe-on-headI have always thought the “shoe on head” meme was pretty stupid. Naturally, my work as a camgirl led to me finding out about that meme and has created some interesting conversations with people over it. The way I see it, if a girl entertains the request without a tip or some compensation, she’s getting ripped. If someone paid me to put a shoe on my head, though, I’d be more than happy to do so. Even though I dislike the meme, I would never want to prevent others from putting shoes on their heads. In fact, I kind of like the idea of having the option to do so, in the future, if I ever decided to. The reason I like that is because I kind of like freedom in wearing whatever I want that isn’t somehow harmful to others. A shoe on my head doesn’t hurt anyone. I like to wear what I want to. Most people who know me know that means I have a slightly eccentric way of dressing (unless I’m being lazy, then I look like your standard, worn, 31 year old woman).

My freedoms are pretty awesome already when it comes to what I can wear. If I want to, I can walk around downtownsexypredator in a Darth Vader mask and nobody would stop me. I could spend my life in attire suited for a masquerade party and I could shield my head from onlookers by being a predator all the time and while I may not do that (usually), I kind of enjoy the fact that I have that option. So what does this have to do with anything at all?

Well, in Belgium, their parliament has approved a ban on the burqa. Or, at least, headgear that covers the face. General terms were put into the ban in order to make it seem like the target wasn’t the burqa, but the issue has been filled completely with discussion on Muslim women. According to this article, the bill was proposed because some guy, Daniel Bacquelaine, says that people don’t deserve to cover themselves when they’re looking at other people:

“We cannot allow someone to claim the right to look at others without being seen,” said Daniel Bacquelaine, who proposed the bill.

This is absurd on so many levels, but the first thing that makes it absurd is that the people wearing headgear very likely aren’t asking to look at you. Furthermore, if it is a matter of “if you see mine, you must show me yours,” then why are we just focusing on the head? I mean, people in Belgium are not foreign to revealing clothes, the last I heard. If the girl in front of me isn’t wearing a micro-mini, does this mean that legislation should be created so that she has to wear clothing as equally revealing as mine? I hope not!

My attention was actually drawn toward this issue because of someone’s post about it on facebook. Thus, in order to approach the issue fairly, I should address the arguments made on facebook, but since I don’t have permission to quote the people involved, I will paraphrase their arguments:

“Burkas are sexist! Burqas exist to subjugate women.”

Technically, I think we’re supposed to spell it “Burqa.” Also, the burqa is actually the full-body garb that Muslim women wear. The niqab is the veil that covers the head. Now that our terminology is accurate, let’s move on. Yes, the covering of the woman’s body in Muslim tradition has to do with an old myth of the woman being a temptation and in her being such a frightening temptation, somehow innately bad in a naive-needs-protection way, she has traditionally been the subject of men in her family. Dominated by all the men she associates with, she has to do what her father and brothers say until she gets married, which is often, in most dogmatic sects, more of an ownership than a partnership. However, it isn’t the covering of her head and body that is oppressing the Muslim woman. It is her culture and her religion that is doing it. If you take away the niqab, that isn’t going to remove her culture and religion. If anything, creating a law where a woman can’t wear her niqab creates an excuse for the men in her life to lock her up even more. If going out in public violates her religious creed, her options are to either sin or to stay at home, where she can wear her veil and obey her God. Thus, if this law is designed to take her veil away, it will fail and will simply make those women who are oppressed even more so.

“The Burqa is a symbol of sexism and if you defend it, then you’re like a person from the KKK defending the wearing of their robes!”

This is an interesting claim. Nobody would say that they want to jump into the same circle as the KKK, would they? The KKK are a vile, dogmatic, absurd, and generally offensive group of people who were once catapulted from the bleeding kkk-toleranceulcer-infested bowels of humanity. They have committed some of the most gruesome crimes that we can look back on in recent history. But do they have the rights to dress like an idiot? Of course they do. Besides, if they dress like a dumbass, we have a better way of identifying them, don’t we? We don’t have to go to the trouble of striking up a conversation with John Doe and later discovering he’s a douchebag if he’s dressed up in his mother’s linen sheets, do we? Because we’d already know beforehand that he’s a douchbag! He did us the favor of letting us know! Will I defend the rights of Mr. Stained-Mommy-Sheets to play dress up? Yes, I will. I will defend that right just as much as I will defend my right to wear a predator mask. Why? Because it isn’t the attire that is the problem here. While the clothing represents something distasteful, the clothing shows us where our society needs a little work. The better option in regards to mister Klingy Kaka Kernel is to try to educate him and make sure that your social impact is bigger than his. Leaving him powerless or changing him will help him remain a dying breed and will (hopefully) kill his species off over time.

“Should we allow people to wear slave collars?”

If they want to, sure. I have absolutely no problem with that. The important thing is that it is their choice.

“What if people wanted to wear shackles in public and they wanted to ban that?”

Firstly, this comparison is absurd. Shackles and a niqab are two different things. They have completely different aaaado1lcjqaaaaaabtrmwfunctions, one which actually makes shackles a danger to the person wearing them. That being said, if someone chose to wear shackles in public, I don’t see any reason for me to stop them. Their decisions are not mine to make, as long as they’re not harming anyone. That being said, this is a really bad comparison.

“You don’t like the question, you should answer it! It is a valid question, just as valid as asking what if indoctrinated children were told to wear shackles!”

Aside from comparing women in burqas to children and how that’s far more sexist than the burqa-wearing itself, there’s a major difference between a child being told they have to be restrained and an adult putting something on their head. The age is a major factor, since children are not generally considered ones who are accountable for their decisions. That being the case, whomever convinced the child to wear the shackles would be responsible, and that’s a whole other debate. Furthermore, as I mentioned before, shackles are not veils and veils are not shackles. The insistence that they are the same will not make them the same in the future.

One of the people in the discussion used this quote, so I feel it is safe for me to re-quote this one item in the conversation:

“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they new they were” –Harriet Tubman

With all due respect to Ms. Tubman, if you tell them they’re a slave and they don’t think they’re a slave, and they want to be wherever they are, what is the point in freeing them? What if my neighbor wants to do everything his wife tells him, ever? What if she chains him up and forces him to clean house all day while wearing a maid’s outfit that’s 100% PVC and a cage for his testicles? If he wants to do that, who the hell are we to decide that 1) he’s a slave and 2) we should write up a law to stop it? This doesn’t mean that the form of slavery where the person is forced to become a slave is acceptable, instead, this means that a person should be free to choose the life of a slave if that is what they want. The fact is, that’s simply not our decision to make for them. Of course, the thing this is supposed to highlight (in case it isn’t crystal clear in my analogy) is that when someone wants to be a slave or doesn’t think they are a slave, the whole concept of if the term ‘slave’ defines them or not is questionable.

Banning headgear is silly and should not be the approach that we take toward freeing women who are oppressed. Let’s try doing something productive, instead.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find the right shoe to put on my head while I go out shopping for a Predator mask.


Note: I used to have a section elsewhere entitled “Not-Porn” that included media items that inspired pornographic thought  or were related to porn, but weren’t, themselves, porn. I’m going to continue that tradition here. They usually are not made by me, this video is an exception and I may start putting others together from things I run across. This will be a new post and I will repost old ‘not-porn’ submissions at a later time. I’m continuing the count of Not-Porn from the place I left off. If you have a submission for not-porn, please do send the link my way and write about what it is and why it should be here.

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