by Furry Girl

03.12.12

"...let's stop blaming men ('all-male church,' 'mostly-male Congress,' 'male-run Fox News,' etc.) for doing all this bad stuff to women.

Women vote to put anti-sex politicians in office; a majority of women voted for Republicans in the 2010 Congressional election.  Women support the churches that keep anti-sex politicians in office.  Women buy the newspapers and consume the radio and TV programs (like Rush's) that promote moral panics about sexuality.

And let's remember that when women get political power they typically act like men when it comes to sex.  Both Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin are aghast about Rush—not about what he said, but about how he’s been held accountable for it.  And virtually every female Republican governor and Congressmember of the last decade has voted to restrict access to abortion and birth control."

-- Dr Marty Klein, in It’s Not A War On Women—It’s A War On Sex on sexualintelligence.wordpress.com

 





by Furry Girl

02.06.12

"The ["fake"] women are loud, hyper-real versions of the femininity to which we are all supposed to aspire, and the disdain with which our culture drenches them is a telling indictment of its own narratives.

What we have is not a war against fakery, it is a war against that which displays itself as fakery; we're all supposed to be pretending that we're naturally wide-eyed and soft-skinned and blushing and blemish-free. Women are expected to be photorealist portraits of femininity, not expressionist canvasses; lies are tolerated only in so far as they are told convincingly. But when we start being too overt about the fabricated status of natural femininity, there's a lurking danger that we might start to question their absurdity, or realise that we can invent altogether new images in radical moulds.

[...]

Style and beauty are produced, discarded and reinvented with startling rapidity and, in such a climate, the very notion of the natural can be seen for what it really is: just another aesthetic category, its signs every bit as carefully fabricated as the most flamboyant artifice."

-- Shona McCombes, In defence of fake beauty on thefword.org.uk

People are often surprised that I'll be the first person to speak out in defense of makeup, shaving, and cosmetic surgery.  They shouldn't be, though.

It really bothers me when some of my male fans and clients assume that my own unshaved crotch means I must have a pathological hatred of women who choose to shave.  For almost a decade now, I've been greeted at least a dozen times each week with comments like, "Thank god you're not one of those disgusting fake bimbos," with the unthinking assumption I am in complete agreement about said bimbo's supposed disgustingness.

Why don't I shave?  Because I'm kinda fucking lazy.  I'm a tomboy-ish chick who doesn't generally put a ton of work into my appearance, and I personally don't feel like the effort and itchiness and pain and money that goes into removing hair is worth it.  I never advocate that others join me, I'm not out to convert and save follicular souls.

I wish all of my Furry Girl fanbase understood that I don't hate women who shave, and it's always disturbed me that some of them start an interaction with me by assuming we have a shared hatred.  Not a shared fetish or interest, but starting off a conversation or email talking shit on women who are not me, and I don't find this the least bit flattering.  It's totally cool to have whatever body hair preference or fetish, but stop projecting your angry shit onto me.  (I'm angry about plenty of other things, but I don't give the slightest damn as to how other women groom their crotches.)

I realize that it must be frustrating if you have an uncommon sexual interest that most women do not want to cater to, but that doesn't mean those women are low-IQ monsters.  Writing them off with nonsensical personal attacks such as saying they must be "incapable of thinking for themselves" because they won't indulge your kink is not a demonstration of how "sexually liberated" or "appreciative of real beauty" you are.  Sexual empowerment is about everyone making their own choices with their bodies, not pushing for some kind of fascist society where all women are forced against their will to look a certain way for the amusement of a small group of men.  That's everything that I am against, not what I support.





by Furry Girl

03.21.11

"This whole tradition – the idea that women need be preserved in glass so as not to 'ruin' themselves, lest they diminish their sexual value by 'giving it away' –restricts the lived autonomy of women in ways I can't even begin to articulate.  None of the slut-shaming makes sense unless you assume women live to give themselves to men in their purest possible form."

-- Kerry Howley, in Thoughts on Thoughts on Spitzer on reason.com





by Furry Girl

11.21.10

As a teenager, I had a conversation with an older activist who had been arrested many times over the years.  He told me his secret to staving off despair and stress during the whole process.  He said something like, "When you're in jail, and the police strip search you, their goal is to humiliate you into obedience, so it's your job to turn the tables on them.  I do a sexy striptease, spin around like a fucking ballerina, and tell them how hot the whole thing makes me.  It takes away their power and makes them the uncomfortable ones."

These are the sorts of useful lessons I learned instead of going to high school.

"Sticking it to the man" can be about learning to draw power directly from disempowering constructs themselves.  On my way to my vacation, I knew wanted to do something to express my disapproval of the TSA's cancer-machines-versus-groping "choice".  (Also see National Opt Out Day set for November 24.)  If there is but one superpower that I possess, it's making people feel uncomfortable through my propensity for public displays of sluttiness and general unselfconscious loud-mouthery.

Image from the @TSAagent Twitter account

Disclaimer 1: I realize that whining about flight screenings is a problem that affects mostly people on the top of the world's privilege heap, and that this conversation has been dominated by middle/upper class white men.  Let's be real: the public outcry over this is because it's about crotches and nudity.  No one cares if their phone calls are being recorded or if the government detains people for years without trails, they just know they don't want another dude touching their junk.  I'm hoping that people will use this particularly titillating aspect of increasing government intrusion into our lives as a springboard to thinking about other civil liberties issues.  (I'm actually far more bothered by how critics of surveillance like Jake and Moxie have been harassed and detained by the government lately at airports after international trips.)  Overall, though, I think it's a positive thing any time that so many people - across party-lines - are freaking out and insisting upon their right to privacy.  As a country, we can't agree whether it's our right to own firearms and/or get abortions, but we can all agree we don't want government agents touching our bathing suit areas.

Disclaimer 2: some children and adults have been genuinely traumatized or upset by their experiences with the TSA.  I wasn't trying to belittle their pain and frustration at all, but to use my own body as a medium to protest against invasive security measures, and in a humorous way that upends the expected dynamic.

The TSA wanted to feel me up or see what I look like without clothes.  I get it.  I'm a sex worker.  My main porn site gets about 3 million unique visitors a year, and clients pay $4 a minute to see me naked on my web cam, so the TSA's interest in me came as no surprise.  Normally, I would charge for such a service, but this one was on the house.  Duty, country, sacrifice, patriotism, all that.

For my voyage, I donned a see-though chemise and sheer panties under normal clothes.  My nipples, crack, and pubes are all plainly visible though this ensemble.  The TSA needed to make sure that I wasn't concealing any errant Al Qaeda operatives in the folds of my labia, after all.  I would have done this naked, but being arrested for public nudity doesn't really help to underscore my cause, and it would screw up my vacation and turn me into a sex offender, both of which would be a real bummer.  (I also considered going through while packing a huge strapon cock with my metal-free, airport-friendly Joque harness.)

The bummer is that the cancer machines at Seatac were busted for some reason, so they were just using metal detectors.  But, even though I didn't get to shoot video of myself being groped, hopefully this is still amusing.  (My plan was to loudly moan and fake an orgasm while being molested by the TSA.)

Here's my video from the airport, published from a net cafe at the airport.  The portion shot inside the security area is about 10 solid minutes, and only the first minute of that is actually amusing, then it just goes to a long stretch of the boring ceiling while I was detained and the TSA waited for a police officer to talk to me.  The cop was actually very polite to me, and seemed understanding, and just sorta vaguely let me know that maybe I shouldn't do that again, because children might see.  (I told him I already picked a security line without kids, which it true.)

I hate it when people demand that I put my pants back on!  (And, like I pointed out, we're not supposed to wear jackets through security.  The TSA agent ordered me to violate TSA rules!)  As far as I know, I am the current record holder for the nearest-to-naked a passenger has gotten at a TSA screening.  I look forward to having that title stripped from me.

You're welcome to re-post or embed my video elsewhere, but I'd appreciate a link back to this blog post and crediting Furry Girl/Feminisnt.com.  Apologies on the low quality - I used a small cheap digital camera to record this because I wasn't going to risk having an expensive one seized if the TSA got uppity.  I edited it on the fly with the camera's own basic editing program since I no longer travel internationally with my laptop.

The TSA allows "opting out" of the "naked" scanners if you submit to a groping that some people consider a form of sexual assault - or, at the very least, creepy and uncomfortable. The TSA's goal is to use the grope-down to frighten the public into submitting to a scan which scientists at UCSF consider a cancer risk.  Don't be scared like the TSA wants you to be.

Remember the children's tale of Brer Rabbit?  It's time to beg not to be thrown into the briar patch.  Put on your sexiest, filmsiest underthings, opt for a grope-down, have fun with it, treat it like a performance, and fake an orgasm in public next time you fly.  You'll gain self-confidence, amuse and inspire other passengers, draw attention to the sexually-invasive nature of the modern airport security process, and make government employees look more predatory and inappropriate while feeling up strangers.  Protesting in such a way won't change TSA regulations overnight, but it adds to the dissent and public conversation, flips around a demeaning dynamic, and for bold travelers, getting this transparent just might be the only way these days to enter an airport with a smile on your face and your dignity intact.

And hey, at least I'm not one of those public embarrassments who wear their pajamas, a blanket, and an inflatable neck pillow to the airport.  For fuck's sake, people!  Have some sense of propriety.

[For new readers: writing and doing projects like this doesn't make me any money, but you can always express your appreciation via my Amazon wishlist, or by donating money to my favorite nonprofit, the St James Infirmary.]





by Furry Girl

11.17.10

"The article accepts that 'boys will be boys' when it comes to watching porn but carefully wags its fingers at women who do or might consider watching porn.  'If you hadn't worn that skirt…' it seems to say.  'Nice girls don't go out alone on dark nights.'  It is, quite literally, making the claim that if you watch those dark images that they will literally manifest themselves into your life.  It's the stuff of mythology or the Twilight Zone and it is a little interesting that this quote pops up on the heels of more and more women speaking out about their interest in porn.

Threatening people with rape is a common tactic of war.  It's been used in the past and in the present by those who don't concern themselves with collateral damage so long as they are able to impose their will.

It is a very, very ugly lie to tell."

-- Miss Maggie Mayhem, in Porn & Rape on missmaggiemayhem.com





by Furry Girl

10.22.10

This post is a part of the Scarleteen Sex Ed Blog Carnival.  Find links to posts from other participants here.  This is veering off the course in which other participants have been headed, since I don't want to write about why sexual education is a good thing, or hit with you my own sales pitch for why Scarleteen and why you should donate, so I've written about a sexual health issue near and dear to me.

...

If you have a uterus and fallopian tubes, you've been hearing the same thing since you were in junior high (or earlier).  When it comes to birth control, your options are condoms, the pill, or maybe, if you're feeling unconventional, the shot or the IUD.  But what about those of us who don't want to take hormones or have an IUD painfully jammed up our cervixes?  I got myself fixed four years ago - via tubal ligation - and I couldn't be happier with it.

First, a note on gender and language: for the sake of brevity and smoother writing, I'm going to refer to those who have a uterus and fallopian tubes as "women", but this doesn't mean that I don't consider trans women to be women, nor do I mean to exclude those who do not identify as women, but who may want a tubal ligation.  Birth control isn't only an issue for straight people.  Aside from all the bisexuals, consider, for example, a gay-identified, uterus-having FTM trans guy who fucks men, or a cisgender woman who has an non-op/pre-op MTF trans woman as her partner.  It's just too hard to write inclusively of every possibility and still have concise, readable sentences.

I have never wanted children.  I do not like children.  Where most women light up with delirious joy when they see babies and little kids, I'm just hoping the child doesn't vomit or blow its nose on me.  I choose to focus my maternal energies on my cat-baby and on my various projects.

Our culture demonizes childfree women as profoundly selfish, cold, and unfeminine.  Sterilization for women seems to be more controversial and patently offensive than abortion - I'm not just saying "not right now" to the prospect being a mommy, I'm saying, "absolutely fucking never."  I'd guess there are more places in America that will perform abortions than will sterilize childfree women.

Try on these common responses for starters:

"Aww, you'll change your mind when you hit 30!  Wait until that biological clock of yours starts a-ticking!"

"Sure, you think don't like kids now, but it's totally different when they're your own!"

"Your life as a woman just won't be complete without experiencing pregnancy and birth!"

"Smart and pretty people need to out-breed those ignorant hicks!"

And so on.  All of the sentiments assume, whether overtly or just subtly, that the only reason for me (and by extension, other women) to exist is to pop out babies, that it's where I'll find my "real" happiness in life, and that I'm controlled by a biological clock, incapable of making rational decisions about my fertility.

I've dated a couple of guys who wanted vasectomies.  I went to their mandatory counseling sessions with both of them.  It was easy as pie!  No condescending insults, no pervasive culture of, "Come on, now, all men want to have babies!  You'll probably change your mind anyway, you silly creature!"  They were dudes, and it's natural for dudes to not want to have kids.  No one shames or questions the sanity of men who get sterilized.

I got to watch one of my boys have his vasectomy performed, which was awesome, and took less time than getting a pedicure.  Had I been supplied with a syringe of lidocaine and an autoclave, I could have performed his vasectomy on my kitchen counter using cuticle scissors, a crochet hook, and a soldering iron.  He didn't even need stitches afterwards, and while he spent a few days taking it easy, he didn't need much pain medication at all.  Vasectomy was easy to obtain for him, cheap, and didn't have many risks or a long recovery time.

When I was 22, I decided it was time to get serious about finding a doctor to sterilize me.  If you're looking to get a tubal ligation, I highly recommend doing what I did: get a list of doctors from Planned Parenthood that they refer women to for tubal ligations.  Here in Seattle, I think it was over a dozen doctors.  I called one.  I told the receptionist that I'd like to make an appointment to talk about getting a tubal ligation, but that I wanted to make sure before I even bothered to come in that the doctor didn't have a problem sterilizing young childfree women.  The receptionist put me on hold, then told me it shouldn't be an issue.  My consultation went much better than I expected.  I came in there armed to the teeth to argue about my right to be sterilized, but the doctor was already on board.  He just gave me a short spiel about how tubal ligations are to be considered permanent.  To cap it off, he even ranted briefly about how rude and paternalistic it is that other doctors won't sterilize women who want it.  I was in!

My experience in finding a great doctor on the first try seems to be pretty unique, however.  Talking with other women, or looking at forums dedicated to birth control, you'll see tale after tale of women frustrated at being denied the right to control their own fertility, belittled by doctors and told that no, they actually will want to have children.  I am so glad I didn't have to go through that.

I was scheduled to have a laparoscopic tubal ligation, which means I'd just have one tiny little scar.  I decided that I didn't want a sterilization via Essure or the other new methods of inserting things into your fallopian tubes by forcing things up my cervix and (hopefully) correctly into my tubes.  Firstly, because the multiple procedures involved in these methods sounded more painful and stressful than tubal surgery, and secondly, because my doctor has been doing tubal ligations for 30 years and not once had any failures that he was aware of.  I didn't want to be awake and having someone jab away at my internal organs, I wanted to be knocked out and wake up in recovery when the jabbing was completed.

When my special day in the hospital came, it was a serious, all-day event, not like the "pedicure" my ex had gotten.  I switched into a gown, and got an IV line started to give me a saline drip and antibiotics.  It was done in a real operating suite, with my doctor, an anesthesiologist, and other helpers there to attend to me.  I would have to spend most of the day in recovery in the hospital.  (All this means that a tubal ligation costs loads more than a vasectomy.  My tubal was 10-20 times as expensive as your average vasectomy.)  The method of sterilization my doctor used was placing silicone rubber bands around my doubled-over fallopian tubes, which apparently has a shorter recovery time, and doesn't carry the risk to other internal organs that a slip during a cut-and-cauterization procedure could.  Here are my before-and-after shots, look for the white arrow pointing to the doubled-over sections of tube in the lower pictures:

There was a bit of bruising at the incision area, but after just two weeks, you had to look hard to see the small reddened scar that was barely snaking out of my belly button.  I will probably never have to worry about pregnancy again.  There is a slight risk that my body could "heal" itself, but sterilization beats out other birth control methods for efficacy.

I don't mean to sound like a hippie who's afraid of science, but I'm wary of the long-term effects of women taking birth control pills for 20+ years of their lives.  I've still used condoms for most of the sex I've had in the last 4 years, but I'm happy that my backup method is internal and intrinsic, not something external that I have to rely upon being granted access to.  No one can ever take away my right to keep being sterilized.  It's like a buy-versus-lease question, and I wanted to buy my freedom so no one would ever take it away from me.  Although I think it's highly unlikely the government would de-approve the birth control pill, IUDs, and Depo-Provera shots, I really value that I will never have to leave my fertility up to the whims of politicians and the laws of whatever country I might find myself in.  (And, you know, after the zombie apocalypse, how many years do you think the remaining stockpile of birth control pills will last?)

I frequently meet other women who either already have an active interest in getting sterilized, or dismissed the idea as just too difficult until they met me.  I wish that more people were aware of what tubal ligations involve, and that it's not actually impossible to get them, even if you're young, single, and childfree.  As more women are choosing to not have children, I wish the sterilization was as widely-promoted as other forms of birth control, rather than a method relegated to the end of the list, surrounded by extra caveats and dismissive language.  It's not for everyone (neither are IUDs, the shot, the patch, or the pill), but if you know that having biological children is not for you, don't be afraid to get out there and demand it.  You might get turned down by a doctor or few, but don't get discouraged.

If money is an issue for you, all states have federal funds allocated to providing birth control to those with low-income, free of charge.  In Washington state where I live, this Malthusian keep-the-poor-from-breeding-up-more-welfare-babies effort is called "Take Charge", and in Seattle, you need to earn less than (last time I checked) $1600 a month to qualify.  (The amount varies by area.)  Go to your local Planned Parenthood or other clinic, and ask about funding options if you're low-income.  Also, check with doctors about payment plans - that might be an option if you don't have insurance.

So, this is my own contribution to sex education today: telling you about my choice method of pregnancy prevention, and my hope that in time, sterilization for women will become more widely-accessible, and as stigma-free as it is for men.

A few resources:

* Planned Parenthood's info on sterilization for those with eggs and those with sperm
* The sterilizationqa LiveJournal Community  (Yeah, I know, shocker - people still use Livejournal)
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (I highly recommend the "Biology and Breeding" and "Science Fiction and Fantasy" sections)
The Baby Boon: How Family-Friendly America Cheats the Childless (Awesome book)

...

Scarleteen is an nonprofit, body-positive resource for young people who are looking for medically-accurate, non-judgmental sex ed.  Good projects like Scarleteen can't survive without funding, so consider making a donation.  I'm happy to say that my smut company is in the list of the top-tier (over $1000) donors to the site.





by Furry Girl

03.18.10

While checking out a friend's Flickr uploads, I came across a photo that instantly took me back almost 9 years.  It was the smiling face of a girl who had once looked down her nose at me for being such a slut.  She was a technical virgin back in those days, bouncing from guy to guy faster than I did, doing everything except letting them put their penises in her vagina.  A holier-than-thou cocktease.

If you're like me, you will always remember the teen girls who were catty bitches to you, even if they've grown up, perhaps matured, and through some holy-shit-it's-a-small-world twist, gone on to become friends with someone you know.

This is one of many examples of why I'll never, ever get the "sisterhood" bullshit espoused by feminism.  Most of my experiences with women prior to sex work were them picking on me - for being a tomboy, for being the chubby girl, for being a slut.  The feminists would like to dismiss this sort of bad behavior by saying it's all just because of the evil patriarchy conspiracy, but I happen to know first-hand that women are capable of doling out plenty of oppression and emotional violence all by themselves.  When people refuse to acknowledge that, it makes me assume they must have grown up skinny, popular, chaste, and otherwise entirely conforming to the unwritten laws of the tribe of teengirldom.

Seeing the photo today made me think of a segment from Fast Girls by Emily White, a book I recommend.  The author interviews different women who were labeled sluts in high school.

She was out on the town in Seattle, at a new martini bar.  "Me and my friend Meg were out with these guys from a really cool band.  We were dressed to the nines, so people were looking at us and we felt totally hot.  All of a sudden this girl comes up and she is being real nice, probably 'cuz she wants to get with the guys in the band, and she is like, 'You're Madeline, right?  Remember me?  We went to high school together.'  I was drunk but then all of a sudden I remember who she was, this really popular girl who was one of the worst offenders.  Telling lies about me all the time.  Yelling names at me from her car when she was driving away from school."

The popular girl came up to Madeline that night in the bar offering an apology for the crimes of the past.  According to Madeline, the girl said, "I am really sorry.  I think the reason we did it has something to do with how, when something is beautiful, you want to destroy it."  Madeline rolls her eyes when she tells me that the girl went on and on, an alcohol-fueled confession, a monologue.

Madeline didn't buy it.  The forgiveness this girl was asking for seemed to puny, so late.  Madeline stared at the girl for a moment.  Then she punched her in the face.

[Edited to add: As an addendum- I pestered my friend about the girl in his social circle, and he told me he's gotten in arguments with her for being anti- sex worker. Ah, I guess some mean teenage girls never grow up- they just re-channel their sexual insecurities at new targets.]





by Furry Girl

02.15.10

2009 was good to me.  It was the year I finally started blogging, the year I stopped giving a shit about trying to be a feminist (whatever that means), the year I bought a frosting gun for decorating cupcakes, the year I actively began shooting photos of other people, the year I discovered the joy of sex with hot tubs, the year I didn't get to go on a proper vacation, and notably in my personal life, the year I engaged in a lot more sex in a submissive role.

Killing off your feminist self and nurturing your submissive self? Major upgrade, I assure you.

masochist

For 2010, I'm aiming to kick the recession's ass via my great new strapon site, get back to doing pay-per-minute web cam shows more often, read more physical books instead of so many blogs and web sites, hopefully present on how to run a porn site at the Desiree Alliance conference, and, as always, find more awesome people that give me a girl-boner. It's already been off to a good start with an epic voyage to Antarctica (a post on that coming soon), so I need to work hard to keep raising my own bar and being the militant awesome-ist I pledged to be last year.





by Furry Girl

06.24.09

Sex workers and sluts are catnip for those who fancy themselves amateur psychologists.  "What awful things happened to her to make her turn out like that?", they wonder, disgustedly and excitedly, scratching their heads and seeking to unravel what titillating damage has been inflicted upon the presumed victim.  Apparently, one must have been raped by their father and beaten by their partners to turn out so deeply fucked up that they would be like me and happily embrace many facets of their sexuality and body.

Well, fuck you to anyone who thinks that accusing sex workers of being rape/violence survivors is a clever zinger of a debate point.  I have seen self-proclaimed feminists do this more times than I care to count.  They paternalize up their argument a bit, but at the core is a self-satisfied, "Haha!  I bet you've been raped!  You're a victim with no power to make your own decisions, ever!  I totally win the porn debate!"

It's with this history of strangers projecting their scandalous ideas of my past upon me that I've always been hesitant to mention the bad things that have happened.  When accusations of being a rape/violence survivor get turned into a way to attack someone else's credibility and choices, (but only of that someone else is a sex worker, of course), sex workers aren't as likely to speak up about actual, non-imagined abuse.  It's giving cannon-fodder to the enemy.

Before I ever got naked on the internet, I had two partners physically assault me (one repeatedly, another just once), and another choke me once.  Do the actions of these men define me for the rest of my life?  Should "we" give abusers that power?  Must I now wear the scarlet V for "victim" around my neck so that others know to treat me delicately and make "good" decisions for me?  Am I a perfectly-packaged imaginary cliche of a helpless battered woman who "turned to porn"?

Again, fuck you to anyone who thinks so.

All things considered, I feel like I've run through the gauntlet of life thus far relatively unscathed.  But, why do some people assume, or even insist, that I must have had it worse?  Why do so many "progressive"/"feminist" outsiders have a need to believe that all sex workers have been raped and attacked?

It makes me want to go all amateur psychologist and ask, "What awful things happened to this person to make them fantasize so much about sexual women being assaulted and raped?"





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