Monday, March 31, 2014

Vaccinations, Car Seats and Porn: How We're Failing to Keep Our Children Safe

     Parents today are so wonderfully cautious when it comes to the safety and well-being of their precious children. We make certain that Junior is in the proper car seat until the day he leaves for college. We buy hand sanitizer and Lysol in bulk quantities and don’t allow a contaminating germ within his presence. We spend extra money on bleach-free organic cotton disposable diapers and BPA-free bottles and sippy cups. We cover him in SPF 1,000 every day from May through September. We willingly allow the doctors to shoot him up in the name of vaccinations (or we adamantly oppose it!). We check on him throughout the night to be sure he hasn’t rolled on to his stomach and hold a mirror in front of his nose to make sure he’s still breathing. When he becomes mobile, we install outlet covers, cabinet locks, baby gates, and protect sharp corners with thick pads and cushions. We pay close attention to labels and don’t allow him to ingest high fructose corn syrup or milk treated with any artificial hormones. We would never give him vitamins that contain harmful red dyes! We don’t let Junior ride anything that moves without wearing a snug helmet. We get to know parents before we allow him to spend time with their children. We spend years worrying about his safety and health and whether we’ve made the right choices. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I have joked with my friends that if I could wrap my children in bubble wrap, I would do it in a heartbeat.

     So why, pray tell, when Junior turns 11 or 12 or 13, would we gift him with an accidental gateway to pornography?

     In the name of being able to reach Junior “in case of an emergency” as well as the fact that “everyone else has one,” and besides, “I don’t want Junior to think I’m a mean mom,” we hand him this magical little portal to a world that is more harmful than anything we’ve spent so much effort to avoid.

     In a study by ABC News called“Generation XXX: Teens Addicted to Porn,” it is shown that SEVEN OUT OF TEN teens are accidentally exposed to porn online. Think your teen is safe? If any of his or her friends has a smartphone, you’re wrong. Through apps that you and I use daily—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—as well as YouTube, your children risk exposure. I once pulled up YouTube to show my children that really sweet video of the baby who started crying when her mother sang (y’all remember that cuteness?), and when I found it I noticed on the top of the list of YouTube’s suggestions was a video by the EXACT same name but the thumbnail was a nude woman’s rear-end. All four of my children were crowded around me and looking over my shoulders. I felt ill. Several friends have told me that their children first saw porn in the locker room at school, thanks to a buddy who was sharing his smartphone. Exposure to sexually explicit content online can occur very easily through a misdirected Google search using an innocent word such as“toy,” a misspelled word or URL, a misleading website or email, or a link or photo sent by a peer or through spam (Wolak et al, 2007).

     Here are some statistics from the Center for Parents/Youth Understanding:

· 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to Internet pornography before the age of 18

· The average age of first exposure to Internet pornography is 11

· 70% of boys have spent more than 30 consecutive minutes looking at online pornography on at least one occasion. 35% of boys have done this on more than ten occasions.

· 23% of girls have spent more than 30 consecutive minutes looking at online pornography on at least one occasion. 14% have done this on more than one occasion.

· 30,000 Internet users are accessing pornography every second.

· There are 4.2 million pornographic websites. That equals 12% of all Internet sites.

· The 12-17 year-old age group is the largest consumer of Internet pornography

· Only 3% of boys and 17% of girls have never seen Internet pornography

·One poll indicates that 50% of evangelical Christian men and 20% of evangelical Christian women are addicted to pornography

     And if you think this is all harmless, well, you’re just not paying attention. Use of pornography has been proven to lead to a cycle of preoccupation, compulsion, acting out, isolation, self-absorption, shame and depression: disorders all widely achievable now with the touch of a button on that beautiful, shiny, little smartphone. The very same smartphone you gave Junior, with the best of intentions, in order to protect him from this big bad world. Little did you know you were putting the big bad world in the palm of his hand, just a click away.

     What we must understand is that porn does to the mind what drugs do to the body. As Dr. Jeffrey Satinover of Princeton University said, “It is as though we have devised a form of heroin... usable in the privacy of one’s own home and injected directly to the brain through the eyes.”

     When you view porn, your body responds by rewarding you with a release of dopamine. Why are you being rewarded if it is such a bad thing you ask? Well, we are biologically engineered to procreate in order to keep our species alive. Our bodies do not realize we’re not with another human when this stimulation occurs; therefore it still rewards us with these chemicals, inducing a euphoric feeling. We were made to enjoy sex. Sex is a wonderful thing. However, when we get addicted to a sex substitute, a neural-pathway in the brain is created that craves more and more of that type of stimulation. The type that is always changing, always new, always exciting and more erotic than the day before. This counterfeit sexual experience becomes our new norm and intercourse with another human being becomes bland and not enough to induce such euphoria.

     It’s kind of like eating McDonalds every day for every meal. It will sustain you for a while; however it is not necessarily good for you. And after six months on a diet of high fat, high sugar, high salt foods engineered only to stimulate your body’s pleasure receptors, it might be hard to find satisfaction in the good, healthy foods which will truly nourish your body.

     There’s no doubt we love our children and want what’s best for them, so we must protect them from this new virtual drug, a proverbial pink slime for our minds, just like we would protect them from any other harmful substance. Because while we can fix broken bones, purge toxins out of their system, and kiss boo-boos away, the mind is not so easy to heal. These images will stay with them long after they’ve been viewed, like a trace amount of a drug always pumping through their veins, trying to lure them back in for one more cheap high.

     If we keep their bodies intact, but allow their minds to decay, then we have failed as parents and never truly protected them at all.

     The compromise? In an ever changing world where pay phones are becoming more and more scarce, cell phones are not always a bad idea. However, we must fight the urge to go bigger and better just because our plans allow it, or our provider is willing to cut us a deal. Buy the cheap flip phone. Monitor it closely. You can still give your child the level of independence they're ready to handle without setting them up for failure. Prepare them, while still protecting them. They will thank you one day.

(B.Grif eating boogery snails in France)

Post By Brice Griffin

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mom Shaming

I have been a stay-at-home-mom for the last seven years. Seven years of diapers, spit up, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every. single. day, boo-boo kisses, seemingly endless pushes on the swing, laughter, hugs, and milestones I wouldn’t have missed for the world. And laundry. Always laundry. Lots and lots of laundry. For seven years full time parenting has been my number one job. My number two job was cleaning up other people’s number twos, and my number three job was running a feminist organization.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy for me when young professionals would straightening their sharp, black, little Ann Talyory blazers, extend their business card clad hands and ask, “So what do you do?” Why did that question always catch me off guard? “Uh, um… I guess… basically… I’m JUST, like, a stay-at-home-mom... yeah...” And I always immediately hated myself the second that came out of my mouth, as though I had to excuse my lowly human molding profession. And I, better than anyone, knew what complete bullshit that was and how harmful the “oh you JUST stay home and raise the future of the world” mentality is. I hated that mentality. Yet here I was playing right into it… feeling not enough.

To be fair though, domesticity has never come naturally to me. Not that I’m above it. I’m actually below it. Very far below it. I lack so many of the basic skills needed to be a decent wife and mother. I did not grow up in a family that cooked. My husband did. I was raised by a single mother who worked outside of the home. To this day she is my hero, so I do not necessarily think it’s the world polluting my view of womanhood as much as me growing up into what I know. I know working long hours at an office, and I know mac and cheese. To me mac and cheese is love. To my husband it’s a cop out. Not because of some weird gender role indoctrination, but because of our individual upbringings. His mother worked outside of the home as well, but her mother cooked and that gift was passed down to all subsequent generations. Packets of powered cheese were passed down in my family.

If we’re being honest I’ve always felt like my husband would be better as the “stay-at-home-parent.” And if we’re being super… intensely… I might need to convert to Catholicism after an epic confession like this… I was always sorta afraid I’d lose respect for him in that role. It’s in no way acceptable, but monetarily compensation is so deeply ingrained in us, whether we want to believe it or not. That’s why every year there’s a new story about how much the stay-at-home parent is “worth,” with graphs and diagrams showing just how much a maid, laundry service, and daycare would cost the working parent. It becomes this pissing contest of who's time and effort is more valuable. And therein lies the problem. What the stay-at-home parent does is not monetarily quantifiable. At all. So you're comparing apples and oranges. As I said above, we. are. raising. the. future. So why the shame in my game? Why such a strong urge to validate our "worth?" Why not wear the SAHM title as a badge of honor?

Well, I’m sure some of you do, but I didn’t. Even though I knew better.

It took a lot of soul searching, and finally, ultimately, getting a job last week to help me understand why. I’m not ashamed of being a stay-at-home-mom because of some societal stigma. I’m ashamed of it because I suck at it. hard. It took the contrast of a job I was able to master in a week to show me that I had super failed at a profession I’d spent SEVEN years trying to master.

My husband in his first week on the job took our kids the freakin’ zoo, yall. That’s hot. How on earth did I think watching a man, my man, spend time with our children day in and day out would cause me to lose respect for him?! No, just the opposite. First of all I know just how insanely hard it is. Second, he is enjoying his life, bonding with our children, and using his inherent strengths for the first time in seven years. Yeah, he can manage people and function in corporate America on the daily, but he’s outside of his comfort zone most of the time (just like I was). Which is what we’re always hammering into people right? Get outside of your comfort zone, that’s a good, positive thing. But what if it’s not? What if maybe, just maybe, it keeps us all miserable and only achieving our personal status quo? What if we’re just working at bringing a weakness of ours, on a scale of 1-10, up from a 3 to a 5, when we could be operating in a vocation we love, are already natural inclined to, and take that from an 8 up to a 10? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have my children raised by a 10… and I don’t just mean that because he’s kinda fine.

This won’t work for everyone, but right now, this is what works for us. Both of us are feeling good at what we do, for once, which is so underestimated in our “just get a paycheck” culture. But the shame is still there. The shame now comes in the form of well intentioned friends asking, “So…you’re working outside of the home now?”

Yeah, I am. And I don’t love my kids any less or suck as a mom any more… than I always have. (insert smiley emoticon here) Because when I see my kids at the end of the day, and my slightly frazzled husband (which yes,  I’m not gonna lie, is kinda validating) I love them more than enough to make up for the time I was gone. I’m also so much more patient than my burnt-out self used to be. My new schedule embodies the definition of quality time vs. quantity time. I loved my kids enough to give them what’s best for them, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of that. Their father is just much more gifted in that role. Like I said, a lot has to do with our upbringings. He was raised by teachers… gourmet cooking, patience having, teachers who don’t believe laundry is the bane of their existence, and so neither does he. He was made for this. And I was made for working outside of the home. Because I just can’t hack it as a stay-at-home-mom. And there’s no shame in that statement. At least, I’m trying hard for there not to be…  


Post by Destiny

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Claiming to be a "feminist" while working in the porn industry...

The problem with pro-porn feminism is it's inherent selfishness. The issue is not about us enjoying sex (yay for that!) -it's about an industry monetizing our bodies and our sexuality. When a "feminist" pornstar says working in that industry makes HER feel liberated, that's very shortsighted. While it might build her up personally, it pushes the rest of us down. It tells society we're all still just f*ck dolls and perpetuates the role of women as mere "pleasure givers" because even in 2-D we're there just to satisfy someone else's sexual needs. The ripples that a porn culture creates will affect all womankind for generations to come.

Pornography dehumanize those participating in it, especially women. Therefore, if the goal of feminism is to elevate women above a subhuman level, porn and feminism cannot co-exist.

Also, this...