“I feel we owe Stormy more for her moxie than handfuls of sweaty singles.”

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The Stormy Daniels (And Melania Too) Effect  as published on HuffPost.com 8/26

Sex/human trafficking and the sex trade are themes I deal with in my Code Raven Series and particularly in my recent publication of Lie To Me an exposé on sex for money  I thought you might enjoy this provocative and witty article by Lily Burana, a feminist and fellow author, published in HuffPost today. 

 

Tucker Carlson (he who has crafted a lasting brand from bowtied White Male Grievance) was fuming on air the other night, Now that Stormy Daniels is part of the resistance, porn is noble!

Or something like that. I didn’t hear the exact words because I was too busy cackling smugly.

The statement seems to indicate that Carlson, prima facie Right-Wing Outrage, is heated up about not being able to make a partisan bitch slap out of a woman’s employment in the sex industry because she, apparently, is showing social (and political) capital above and beyond her lowly “ho” status. Baby boy angry cuz baby boy can’t slut-shame right now! You stay mad, Carlson!

Meanwhile, over here in feminist ladyland, I’m thrilled.

When it comes to how we talk (and joke) about women who’ve worked in adult entertainment, times are changing. Even stories in The New York Times are changing. Certainly, the courage that Stormy Daniels has shown in the face of incredible antagonism can be credited for this shift. Think what you will about her line of endeavor, but my God, her chutzpah in taking on Donald Trump is commendable.

But she’s not the only game-changer here. Melania gets a nod for this shift as well. She’s a woman who modeled nude (sometimes with other women in a hotsy-totsy, clearly-for-titillation configuration), and then, boom, there she was, years later, wife of a Republican magnate and devoted mother.

This has created a bracketing effect ― leftie porn star, right-wing former nude model ― that has muted the impulse to couch a political dig in a bimbo-bashing wrapper. Yes, the hypocrisy of Donald Trump being the head of a party that waves the “family values” flag while being such a creep himself has made its way into late-night monologues and political cartoons: I can’t believe Trump has the NERVE to work the CHRISTIAN ANGLE after he had AN AFFAIR with a PORN STAR. (Because it would’ve been a lesser betrayal if he’d bedded the local chapter president of the Junior League? Help me out here.) But it’s not as sticky of a comedic gambit as it would’ve been even 10 years ago.

I feel we owe Stormy more for her moxie than handfuls of sweaty singles.

Stormy and Melania having both created prurient adult material has, oddly, engendered a bipartisan truce around using sex workers as punchlines or moral lancets. Neither the right nor the left can slut-bash the other side, because each side has its own major presence who is, or was, working en dishabille. Thus, we can’t use that to make political hay. Between Melania’s nude girl-girl photo shoots and Stormy’s turn on the strip club stage and porn set, we’ve eased away from political slut-shaming.

Hallelujah, and may it ever be thus.

Melania, fused in marriage and image with all things Trump and silent as a cipher herself, is something of a suspect blank slate. There’s not much for us to attach to her except guilt by association. But the fact that she hasn’t issued some sort of mewling public apology for her nude modeling photos should be taken as a marker that she ― and the country of which she’s first lady ― is not convinced that any renunciation or mea culpa is required.

Then, we have the volubly sassy and articulate Stormy Daniels. She’s curiously sympathetic folk heroine: She seems to have accepted her lot in life with an admirable blend of pragmatism and good humor, and she has been presented in full 360-degree “actual human being” format in mainstream profiles. She’s a working wife and mother, protective of her child, and incensed by the hypocrisy and corruption of this administration. Add to that her appealingly curvy mom-bod and the pleasing softness to her facial features and you’re like, “You know what? I don’t need to be a jerk about her being a porn star. She’s flesh and blood like us, trying to keep it together while the country goes mad along with everyone else out here.”

Think what you will about her line of endeavor, but my God, her chutzpah in taking on Donald Trump is commendable.

The feminist view of how to treat and discuss women primarily known, willingly or not, for their sexual exploits has also shifted in a far more charitable and sympathetic direction. To have a roundtable of prominent feminists assemble to run down and ridicule such a woman in a major publication like they did with Monica Lewinsky in The New York Observer back in 1998, seems unthinkable now. Bimbo-baiting and shaming are entirely passé, as they have been revealed to be part of the patriarchal dictate to police, and even damage, other women’s lives through judgment. This type of censure through mockery is not a good look for women on either side of the so-called madonna/whore divide ― or either side of the political aisle.

Even normally censorious, socially conservative writers are taking heed and resisting the urge to make the character-assassinating, tongue-clucking cheap shot. Case in point: Professional scold Caitlin Flanagan laid off her usual troweling of disapproval in a May article in The Atlantic. The biggest arrow she dared fire was referring to Daniels as “an aging sex worker,” which from our stern, “the best birth control is holding an aspirin between your knees,” Catholic auntie CaitFlan is practically a pat on the head.

Historically, there has been so much unmitigated hostility toward any woman who does any form of sex work, at any level and for any reason, that if it takes a sense of partisan loyalty to stem the tide of vitriol and low blows, I’ll take it.

We seem to be growing up a bit, able to see now that on the grand continuum of moral “crimes,” female sexual adventuring is on the tame end directly opposite from, say, cratering an entire democracy through, you know, actual crime.

As for what the future holds for these two iconic women who’ve had the audacity to be both naked for money and fully human, I hope Melania has her own escape plan in place, to implement if and when the time comes.

For Stormy, it’s hard to say. In days of yore (you know, like in the 1980s and 1990s), a woman caught in the center of a sex scandal would be offered a royal sum to strip off for a major men’s magazine. Amidst the dwindling readership ― and budgets ― of skin mags, I doubt such an economic rocket boost still exists. However, if anyone deserves the million-dollar post-scandal pinup retirement package, it’s Stormy Daniels. In the absence of that opportunity, maybe she’ll get a big publishing contract for a book in which she can thoroughly examine her side of things (mama, if you need a ghostwriter, you call me).

Even normally censorious, socially conservative writers are taking heed and resisting the urge to make the character-assassinating, tongue-clucking cheap shot.

Regardless of the manifestation, I hope there’s a payout and I hope it’s plenty big. She’s out there capitalizing on her notoriety with her “Make America Horny Again” dancing tour at various strip clubs (and getting set up for arrest at one appearance), but I feel we owe Stormy more for her moxie than handfuls of sweaty singles.

This isn’t to suggest that we all now view adult entertainment as a job like any other job (it isn’t) or that speaking of the workers in the business with civility will transform porn into some amazing cool job that teen girls will choose instead of working at, say, Piercing Pagoda (it won’t). All it means is that we’ve been able (in this case, anyway) to realize slut-shaming is a zero-sum activity and that a hearty chuckle at the rich irony of the situation need not escalate into sick burns on the naked ladies involved. It means that where female sexuality is concerned, we’ve decided, collectively, to not be freaking mean for once.

Yes, there are plenty of bawdy laughs to be had in this trash-fire Trump administration, and let us take our delight where we may. Hit “share” on those “Trump’s Pecker Problem” headlines and the meme of Snoopy at his typewriter atop his doghouse, tapping out “And then, America was saved by a Porn Star. THE END.” We’ve been wounded and anguished for months, so we might as well yuk it up while we’re able. So yes, let us continue to find the humor ― just spare the usual (female) suspects the humiliation of being the butt of the joke.

These are strange days indeed, and we are finally seeing some glimmers of hope that our long national political nightmare may soon end. How wonderful it is to think we might just have the last laugh at an administration that’s a total joke. And how novel that an ever-so-slight uplift for so-called fallen women — of any political affiliation — might be the end product of misogynist folly.

 

Lily Burana is the author of four books, most recently Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith (W Books/Harper). Follow her on Twitter @lilyburana.

 

You’ve got to be kidding me!

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Lynda Filler
Lynda Filler, Writer, Novelist, Top QUORA Writer 2018 at Lynda Filler Author (2009-present)

Interesting assumption. I think you might have missed the point of the investigation. As of his entry into the Manhattan Court House yesterday, he had something like 50 accusers. Personally, I watch, read and try to forget what’s going on. If you read my profile, I’m from the generation before all this happened. And believe me, it happened in my generation all the time. No one talked about it.

Most of the women who have spoken up were actually in a forced situation. Yes, some went ahead with it and I will explain that in a moment. But many ran away. Many left in a hurry. Many were backed into a corner by an extremely large man. How do you think you react to 250 lbs of aggression against 116 lbs? Power against a nobody, someone who’s career stands at the mercy of the MOST powerful man in Hollywood. Do you give in? Or try to run? When the thought runs through your mind that his enablers know exactly what is going on, so if you scream NO ONE IS GOING TO HELP YOU. And if you fight back, you’re banned forever from following your dreams. Just think about what kind of “consent” that entails.

The first time for me I was on a double date. We got separated as couples and my date and I were at a park ‘talking’. It was midnight. He tried to rape me. Thank God he believed my story (I said I had my period) and the promise to meet up the following week. I was 18 and he was a police officer of 24. It was in Ottawa Canada many many years ago. If something had happened, who would I complain to?

The second time, I was a very sad and frightened about-to-be-divorced 22-year-old woman at her lawyers. My ex had tried to smother me in a fit of anger. We were married for 6 months. But I saw a pattern and I ran out and never returned. That was traumatic enough. But when I went to sign my divorce documents, my divorce lawyer had his brother with him (another lawyer). It turned out that “I” was part of the payment for their divorce services.

I can go on if you’d like. My generation did nothing, said nothing because nothing would have been the result of a complaint. Imagine me accusing a police officer or two lawyers, or a photographer when I started modeling, or a business owner when I worked as a buyer for his 10 stores…

Do you want to know where I was for the year before I married? I became a missionary nun! I was Catholic and very religious. But the contemplative life was not for me for several reasons. There was no #MeToo movement in my day. The last thing any of us would have done was file a complaint.

So don’t tell me about consent, or partial consent or culpability. Tell me about compassion, and understanding and love. Tell me you can understand and for one single moment imagine that you have a daughter forced into a sexual act. There is no love, no desire, no agreement. There is absolutely fucking nothing except ‘get it over with and let me go’.

And that’s all I can say about the whole thing because I refuse to live with the anger and pain it caused in my life.

Although I do believe it led to a series of painful and worthless years of emptiness and a lifetime of looking for real love.

 

LOVE The Beat Goes On  If you are curious about my life and why my one word is  #LOVE

28 Of The Most Powerful Pieces Of Writing By Women In 2017 Sometimes collective rage turns into beautiful words.

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There were times in 2017 when it felt like rage might burn me up from the inside out. At times, that anger felt paralyzing. When there is so much happening at once, how do you focus your energies?

During these moments, it was always reading that jolted me and my colleagues into action ― a piece about the Women’s March that made us get off our couches and show up, or a piece on a raucous summer blockbuster that made us remember that joy can be a radical act. So for the sixth time, we’ve curated a list of pieces that had an effect on us as readers over the last calendar year.

To make the list, an article had to be (1) published in 2017, (2) written by a woman and (3) available online. Below are 28 of those pieces that moved us this year. They are a reminder that even in the darkest of times, storytelling matters.

Rebecca Traister, New York Magazine

In this extended moment of reckoning regarding sexual assault and harassment, we are all implicated, Rebecca Traister argues. Because when you’ve spent a lifetime both experiencing violations and being complicit in a system that allows them, the process of a collective reckoning is a difficult one. It brings painful self-reflection, anxiety over a brewing backlash (“A powerful white man losing a job is a death, and don’t be surprised if women wind up punished for the spate of killings”), and, potentially, the promise of catharsis and eventual equality. Some women, Traister points out, might realize they’ve waited their whole lives to tell stories they didn’t even know they carried.

 

Ijeoma Oluo, The Stranger

Ijeoma Oluo wanted to avoid Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who passed herself off as a black woman for a decade. But when that became impossible, she interviewed her instead. What followed is a striking piece of journalism, an interview that really digs into the core of what drives the relationship Dolezal has with blackness. As Oluo writes, “I couldn’t escape Rachel Dolezal because I can’t escape white supremacy. And it is white supremacy that told an unhappy and outcast white woman that black identity was hers for the taking.”

 

Lindy West,  The New York Times

This piece has one of the best headlines of the year. And it only gets better from there. As Lindy West outlined in the wake of the first round of Harvey Weinstein allegations, “The witches are coming, but not for your life. We’re coming for your legacy.” As 2017 comes to a close, the hunt continues.

 

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, GQ

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah’s stunning long read on Dylann Roof, the now 23-year-old man who murdered nine black parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, attempts to answer a big question: How did “one of the coldest killers of our time” come to be? Ghansah spoke to Roof’s teachers, classmates, friends and family members, concluding that Roof is a terrifying omen. He is “a child both of the white-supremacist Zeitgeist of the Internet and of his larger environment […] It is possible that Dylann Roof is not an outlier at all, then, but rather emblematic of an approaching storm.”

 

Jenn Gann, The Cut

For Jenn Gann, fighting for justice for her beloved son who was born with cystic fibrosis means considering that he should never have been born. Gann’s exploration of “wrongful birth” cases ― in which the parents of a child with a congenital disease claim that medical professionals failed to properly warn them of their child’s condition before birth ― is deeply personal, raw and heart-wrenching. This story complicates the narrative people usually consider when discussing terms like “pro-life” and “pro-choice.” “After all this pain and humiliation and anger boiled down to records and money and who did what,” Gann writes, “the love I have for my son feels like the one thing that can’t be taken from me.”

 

Ashley Nkadi, The Root

The headline says it all. “There will come a day when the same nation that stepped on black women will run, shouting, at our doors to save it,” Ashley Nkadi writes. “And we will whisper ‘no.’”

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, The New York Times

This is the piece of journalism that set off a reckoning. Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey spent months reporting out this story about the years of sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. We will be sorting through the consequences of this stellar piece of journalism for years to come.

 

Rebecca Traister, New York Magazine

There is so much to say about Hillary Clinton, the equal-parts-beloved-and-reviled woman who almost became president. Rebecca Traister draws a portrait of a candid, exhausted, powerful, funny, worried, determined and (understandably), angry woman, recovering from a grueling presidential campaign and looking toward an uncertain future for the nation she spent her life working for.

 

Maris Kreizman, The New York Times

In a moment when we often get our news, our life updates, our job opportunities and our dates via algorithm, sometimes it’s healthy ― and downright heartening ― to remember that “the best things in life are unquantifiable.”

 

Jessica Bennett, The New York Times

I cried the first time I saw “Wonder Woman.” Jessica Bennett, who saw the film in Brooklyn, surrounded by girls and women of all ages, gets to the root of why viewers like me had such an intense reaction to seeing the superhero on the big screen. “There was something deeply visceral about it: a depiction of a hero we never knew we needed, a hero whose gender was everything but also nothing.”

 

Doreen St. Felix, MTV News

In January, Doreen St. Felix dove into the conundrum that is Omarosa’s public image, career and eventual position within the Trump administration. “She has not risen high enough to elicit any emotion besides pity,” St. Felix concluded. In December, knowing how Omarosa’s time in the White House ended, St. Felix’s assessment feels even more vital.

 

Gemma Hartley, Harper’s Bazaar

There’s a reason that Gemma Hartley’s piece on emotional labor struck such a chord. Not only is it a perfect mix of personal essay and reporting, but it also defines a type of work that women have been doing without acknowledgment or much public discussion for years, for decades … for forever.

 

Jennifer Weiner, The New York Times

In a year that was sometimes difficult to find anything to be grateful for, Jennifer Weiner’s beautiful love note to brave women is an editorial salve for the soul.

 

Allison P. Davis, New York Magazine

Cardi B is a celebrity for our time: a bombastic rapper with raw talent and a powerful lack of shame about her body, her roots, and her monetary success. Allison P. Davis’ profile of the artist is as fun a read as Cardi’s hit “Bodak Yellow” is a listen.

 

Continue reading at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/best-writing-by-women-2017_us_5a37f219e4b0ff955ad54274

Thanks, Huffington Post and Emma Gray