Saturday, August 22, 2015

Interview: GlamMonitor.com (Sexuality, Sexual Violence, and More)

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UPDATE (August 31): According to Blackwood, the woman who interviewed me, despite GlamMonitor originally Re-Tweeting this article and the article including me going through the editor and being published, her editor afterward decided that I needed to be written out and replaced, so the archive link to the first version is all that there is now!

UPDATE (August 22): It appears as though the post may be down temporarily (or permanently)! Might have had something to do with this post, since it was removed right after GlamMonitor's Twitter Re-Tweeted this article. I had already stated on Twitter that I would post my answers here whether their article went up or not, so this post shall remain. I might even expand it in the future, if their post doesn't return. I reckon that it may be considered unconventional to post your full answers from an interview after the interview is published, though I'm not sure.

My reason for posting this was not in criticism of Blackwood or GlamMonitor. I didn't expect the entirety of my responses to be used. I just wanted to fill in the blanks where things had been removed or shuffled around a bit.

For the time being, an archived version can be found here. I will correct the link below if any changes occur.
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Below is a link to my recent interview with GlamMonitor.com:

Shielding Cosmopolitan Magazine: Protecting Minors or Shaming Female Sexuality?

Some of the context and nuance of, and elaboration on, what I said and argued in my answers was lost in the article, as they always have to trim down interviewee responses for length, but overall it turned out well, and it was fun.

Enjoy! And, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Also, if you comment on the GlamMonitor article, please be polite; the interviewer was very nice and fair.

Author: Krista [@Femitheist]
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NOTE: For the few who may still be unaware, my satirical “Femitheist” character work is discontinued and has been for some time, so this was one of my first interviews out of character, as myself! Future interviews will be the same!

NOTE II: Just to briefly clarify on the nuances of a few points that might have been lost due to the cutting:

1) My argument was that a more open sex culture is healthier, where it is friendly to women and men alike, and that this additionally influences (though not alone) sexual violence rates over time, contributing to their general decline.

- I referenced the United States first. The U.S. has, for many decades, had an increase of openness in its sex culture, or at least was on that path for a while. There is more pornography and access to porn, more sexuality in television, movies, and nearly every other form of media, and more people are willing to report violent crimes committed against them now than ever before, even if that is not yet perfect, and the rates of sexual violence in the U.S. (as well as most other violent crime rates) have still gradually decreased for decades. This is contradictory to the notions behind most anti-sex agendas, which often disregard or undermine the fact that violence rates have declined despite the rapidly increasing sexual nature of our overall culture.

- I likewise referenced the Netherlands and Germany as being places with low rates of sexual violence and even more open sex cultures than the United States, though the article did not mention that:

The Netherlands is home to one of the most open sex cultures in the world. They have, to name a few items, legal and regulated prostitution and comprehensive sex education, and their rape rate is something around three times lower than that of the United States, generally. And yet some people say that the Netherlands is a bit dangerous as compared to a few of the other nations in Europe! Germany, as well, has a rape rate something like three times lower than that of the United States, and they also have terrific sex education and legal prostitution.

It is easy to find other similar examples on each side, and there are exceptions in both directions, of course; and again, it isn't all simply one factor which influences these sorts of outcomes. But, I firmly believe that a reasonable case can be made to argue that more anti-sex countries have higher rates of sexual violence, while countries more open about sex and toward the idea of truly balanced education on it fare far better, and that there is a strong negative correlation between those two elements in many or the majority of instances. Negative in the context of correlations meaning that as openness in sex culture increases over time, sexual violence decreases. And I would go further and contend that the former does indeed influence the latter significantly, even if the shift is not immediate.

I encourage anyone who harbors an unfavorable view of openness about sex and education on sex to give greater and objective thought to the possibilities, realities, and opportunities which come with a society that holds a more positive perspective of women's and men's sexuality, guidance related to sex and sexuality overall, and just the very act itself.

We have much to gain by embracing and striving to better comprehend our carnal desires in a positive and intelligent manner.

Attacking some silly magazine is not the way.

2) I mentioned the Muslim world as being a general region or culture where there is a very repressive or closed sex culture in several nations, and yet a place where there is also a great deal of sexual violence, and referenced Saudi Arabia as an example of such. Obviously, I wasn't intending to fully equate Saudi Arabia and the Mutawa with the NCSEs campaign against Cosmo, as that would be hyperbole, but the mindset is somewhat similar, and the greater point was about openness in sex culture versus repression. Furthermore, we know from literature and news reports that Saudi Arabia has, and has had for quite a while, many issues with sexual violence, despite what their data might reflect (a reflection achieved through an unhealthy society, an overbearing state, and unreliable numbers).

I think that if the intent of the crusade against Cosmo is to prohibit or otherwise restrict it from glorifying porn and sexual violence, which to be of any significance would mean that they must be under the impression that it contributes somehow to sexual violence, then they fail.

Moreover, I think that the very idea is regressive. Some people say that sexual repression is a major weapon of Islamic culture. Saudi Arabia has the Mutawa, their religious police, who ensure that folk there are living up to the standards of the Quran. They abuse their power, and they help to enforce strict anti-sex norms in their society against women and men alike. They have a great deal of sexual violence, and brutal state and other violence against women and men for their sexual practices, even occasionally for being the victims of some sort of violence.

They report low rates of crime, but we all know the truth; they achieve their low crime rates through the subjugation of their people (including barbaric penalties for even trivial offenses), propaganda, the underreporting of crimes, and dubious data monitoring and collection. Historically, democracies have always had higher crime rates than less democratic forms (e.g., monarchies). There is a public safety price that has to be paid even for freedom of speech. Soviet Russia during Stalin was noted for having one of the lowest crime rates in the world, but this was largely due to the state apparatus of social control. Part of the issue with Saudi Arabia and comparable nations is, in my opinion, very much in the same vein.

One could name any number of these types of countries with similar or worse problems and highly stunted and repressive sex cultures. In contrast, more sexually open nations have genuinely lower rates of violence, with freer societies, and those rates continue to decline. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported declines in sexual assault rates in 2013, and that decline has been ongoing for over a decade or more. I recall reading that the rates of rape or sexual assault against women alone have declined around 60% or so from the 1990s to the 2010s. In fact, nearly all rates of violence in the United States have been in decline for the past few decades, and the United States isn't even as open with its sexual culture and lax with its sex laws as are a number of other countries. At the same time, sex culture in the U.S. has steadily, or at least was steadily, growing more and more open gradually.

All of that is due to a variety of factors outside of simple changes in culture, or sex culture, including the manners wherein law enforcement goes about its various practices and procedures and methods, and there is still underreporting to consider there, but I think that a fair case can be made that a more open sex culture, which is amicable and inviting to women and men each, is superior to a repressive or closed one, particularly in terms of how these cultural elements impact sexual violence.

Thus, I would contend that we should encourage women and men in general to be more open about their sexuality, both in terms of what they desire as well as their expressions of it.

And, as for young adults being misled by these materials, while it might be curt to say, Cosmo and other magazines of that nature are, overall, mindless garbage. I think that there are issues of far greater importance with young people seeking moral or social guidance or wisdom from magazines than how said magazines treat sex specifically. Nonetheless, we can improve and, hopefully eventually, correct such problems without these regressive, misguided moral crusades against sex and sexuality.

- My point above about democracies having higher crime rates than less democratic forms throughout history had to do with the numbers of said less democratic forms being unreliable and additionally made so due to unhealthy and repressed societies, as opposed to the numbers genuinely being lower. A freer society to a point is healthier, and low and decreasing crime rates can be achieved without extreme state, social, or cultural control or subjugation.

- Finally, I do not really believe that Cosmo and similar magazines are having any significant impact on children. I think that the problem is more with parents or adults being bothered unnecessarily than children.

Again, these are simply a few brief notes from my original answers, which I gave off the top of my head. The above is not the entirety of what I said, but it includes the portions more relevant to the clarifications of this post.

I think that it is all fairly obvious. This issue with Cosmo is not that substantial, but it is similar to larger problems taking place, and certain mentalities which perceives problem and solutions in regressive or misguided fashions.