Friday, March 21, 2008

David vs Goliath

You go, Baristas
Starbucks Ordered to Pay Back Tips

I have been a barista since I was 13. I've worked at Starbucks and at independents. I have a lot of respect and love for Starbucks. When I worked there, Shift Supervisors were not allowed tips, and I assumed that was SBUX policy. Apparently, according to the article, it's also a state law in some states regarding supervisors and tips. Good for the front lines for fighting it and winning.

Starbucks is great because they give you health and dental insurance for cheap if you work 20 hours a week. There are only a handful of large companies who do that. That's why I worked there when my non profit jobs were part-time. Sadly, the wages ARE low, so every bit of the tips helps.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Glorified Life of a Call Girl

I am so angry about this article. The more I read, the angrier I got. I'm not sure I can put into words how bad an idea this whole thing is. Every time a sex scandal involving "escorts" comes up in the news, the media goes on a whole run of glorifying and giving fame to the idea of prostitution as if it's commonplace, as if it's just another job, as if it's not extremely telling of how strong the patriarchy is that things like this still exist.

Did I mention I was angry? Women like this one are delusional. They are setting a terrible, law-breaking, unsafe, misogynistic, degrading example for women, girls, and everyone else.

The article is here.

This woman, who says that Pretty Woman is a the world's best fairy tale, who tells of a fellow sex class women who "lived happily ever after with a client". She's in the news, she's got a book deal. Somehow, she's more legit because she went to jail for a laughable 26 days (“Three more days than Paris Hilton!” she says, as if it's a thing of pride.)

When asked if the movie Pretty Woman is realistic, she replies:
It actually happens. There was a girl I knew who worked for the agency, who had a booking with a client, went on a date. They fell in love, and he whisked her off to London. They have a house in London, a house in Paris and a house in New York, and they’re getting married. Isn’t that great?

I'm sure this now-married woman is an equal partner in this sham of a marriage. What do you tell people who ask how you met? And if you have children? What kind of message are you sending? How many other women who are a part of the sex class get book deals and fame and get to rave about how this wonderful job of theirs allowed them to fall in love, buy Manolos, and travel the world?

Please tell me that someone besides me sees the utter bullshit in this presentation of how to sell your body to skeezy men and live the life of a fairy tale.

This woman even claims that she probably saved some marriages, since men who wanted to cheat would see her instead of sleeping with their secretary. Look at what she says:
A lot of the married guys, one of the things I used to believe at the time was that I was actually doing a service for these guys, because rather than having an affair with their secretary and potentially ruining their lives, they would come see me, satisfy their needs physically and some of the companionship they wanted — going on a date, having fun, relaxing — and being able to sustain their marriage. Apparently that’s what some people need.

What some people need is to cheat? To think so little of womankind and of the person they chose to marry to have sex with someone for money? That's calculated cheating. That's not a "whoops I drank too much and went home with that girl at the bar." That's a man who has learned that his position in a patriarchy allows him to have a woman on-call for sex and to patronizingly spend time with him and make him feel important as a result of his money and his gender.

I can believe that women who are in bad situations will justify a lot of things, and will make themselves believe whatever they need to believe to survive, but in this woman's case, I think she truly believes these things are true. That she wasn't selling her body and her dignity for the enjoyment of rich, despicable men.

Now before anyone jumps on me and says, "But what about the women? Have you no sympathy for them?" I do. These women, fame or not, are still prostitutes, and are not in a good place. I'd hope that this press would call attention to the fact that most of these women are exploited, and perhaps some change could come from it. Women do not choose to become prostitutes because they feel like they have options. It is not an ambition. It is for the lowest, poorest class of women, those who feel they have no other choice. My point has always been, until we have an equal society, there is nothing empowering about prostitution. It is not something we should be lauding. It is not a desirable part of society.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Oh Jezebel

I recently started reading a blog called Jezebel, and I love that they cover everything from politics to fashion to sex and more. A comment they made about an article they found on revirginization made me snicker. I enjoy Jezebel's honest, sarcastic, and conversational commentary.

The site they discuss is about "renewed virgins" who've "found" their virginity again and mentions that some women even have surgical "replacement" of their hymens (we'll talk about how that's problematic later). Jezebel notes how one woman gave her newly intact hymen to her husband as an anniversary gift.

Jezebel's response: Why is an intact vagina a present? Is sex only meaningful when dudes get all Star Trek and boldly go where no man has gone before? Does Jesus give a sh*t about your hymen?

Schools of thought (that might be a stretch) like the site they reference are why Americans, and especially women, have such screwed up notions of sexuality and self-worth.

Anyway, we both felt immediately guilty about it and cried and prayed for forgiveness. However, it lowered self-respect in both of us so that over the next year, it became easier for us to have sex because "we had already done it." It's not that we had sex all that often... but mostly when, 1. We didn't have a plan for the evening, and 2. No one was around.

And the sex wasn't even all that pleasurable at first... no one told me it would hurt or that it would be so much work! We felt pressure to try to "get it right," and I know it would frustrate him if I wasn't fulfilled... he felt like he wasn't good enough. We'd try so hard to feel the pleasure during sex, but we'd feel so guilty about it afterward. The strain between us started to grow. We really startedsecond-guessing each other and our entire relationship. Our relationship had originally began on the basis of the love of God... we had grown SO much together, spiritually and mentally. We used to challenge each other with our readings and have the best discussions.

That poor girl. See, no one ever taught her to love her body and that what the human body desires is natural and okay. Relationships are not based on mutual love of God. That's what churches are for. Relationships are more complicated than just one shared interest and include sexual attraction, and hey, sometimes relationships even fail, with or without sex. Sigh.

There's just so much to say about this that it makes me tired. I'm in support of saving yourself for the right person who you love/care about/like a lot/trust/is not a douche, but marriage does not automatically make those things true.

Oh yeah, and the whole, intact hymen thing. We are a species that just loves making absolutes out of imprecise terms, aren't we? (see: The Bible, race, sexuality, gender roles) Some women aren't even born with a hymen, and the absence of one is not the definitive definition of "de-virginized." I was pretty sure it was common knowledge from 6th grade health class (oh wait, many states don't allow those either) that a hymen could break from vigorous exercise or horseback riding.