“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.

 

Welcome #RWISA Author Nonnie Jules

 

 

“From one of her upcoming releases, Nonnie Jules presents…PRISON WIVES.”

 

PRISON WIVES

 

I am an unlikely character to tell these stories, but, I do know that each day that we are blessed to open our eyes, we never know what surprises, good or bad, that day will bring. No matter how much and how well we plan, the universe always steps in to show us just how much, we are not as in control of things as we thought we were.

These are real stories of moms, wives, spouses…those significant others who are left behind; those innocent, and maybe even not-so-innocents, who are left to pick up all the pieces that are shattered when their husbands walk out the door and don’t return in the time frame in which they are expected to.

No, he didn’t run off with another woman…he was apprehended somewhere between here and there by a law enforcement officer, and, for whatever reason, he’s now being held behind bars…property of the city until the state steps in to claim ownership. And, although these men are the ones incarcerated, it is the entire family that serves the time.

These are not sob stories to drum up sympathy for the accused. But, this book will serve as a doorway into an open dialogue, so that we are all aware of just how much children suffer when their dads are taken away.

These stories are but small ways to shine light on the effects of imprisoning low-level offenders for long periods of time, ripping them from their children’s lives, and the negative imprints left behind. This is a plea for reform of a justice system that will quickly parole a drug dealer, murderer, rapist or child molester, who will more than likely repeat-offend, yet hangs on to low-level offenders who may have made a one-time mistake or even worse, was forced to take a plea for a crime which he is innocent of, simply because he was too poor and couldn’t afford top-of-the-line defense. We do know that this happens, don’t we?

Lastly, this is so that we don’t forget those that are forced to soldier up and walk into battle each and every day, standing on the front lines of a war that they have been shielded from for far too long. These soldiers fight daily just to keep a roof over the heads, food in the mouths, and hope in the spirits of the children who are also being penalized in this war.

These are the stories of PRISON WIVES.

 

 CHAPTER ONE – SAMMIE

Sammie was so excited about their upcoming road trip. Not for the travel element, but, because their son Jeremy, was about to lead his team to another high school championship for a third straight year. Jeremy was a senior and also big man on campus, as Rozdale High’s, 6’3, All-American Quarterback. The one drawback to Sammie’s excitement, was they had to travel cross country to play. Sammie hated to travel, she also hated to fly, so road trips were always the name of the game for her family. This year, she was especially apprehensive about their road trip and yet, she had no idea why.

The drive would take them 21 hours and 32 min to reach their destination of Clearwater, FL. from Lubbock, TX. And, since Jeremy had to be there on Friday, this would mean a full day and a half of travel prior to. Sammie, mother of three daughters and one son, knew that her husband Josh had a suspended driver’s license, yet, he would have to share the drive time with her anyway. This was not an option as none of their children were of legal driving age, and Jeremy, the oldest, would not get his license until he turned 18 in the following year.

On that hot July morning as they backed out of their driveway, Sammie sat in the passenger seat and prayed. “Dear Lord, guide my family safely from this place to the next and back again. Return us all safely to our home…together. Amen.” Sammie wasn’t what you’d call a deeply religious woman, but she embraced her spiritual side and she strongly believed in the power of prayer.

The family drove along Interstate 20, then passing through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, they finally entered into the state of Florida. There were many stops along the way, but it was the last one that they would never forget. With almost seven hours left in their journey, they heard the sounds of a police siren behind them. When Sammie looked over her shoulder from the backseat, which she’d retired to hours before to stretch her legs, her heart sank so low, she could almost hear it hit the floor of the rental van.

Pulling over into the gas station they were headed to for their next potty-break, Sammie’s mind raced wildly. Not only did Josh have a suspended license, but he also had an outstanding warrant back home for a false probation violation, which they were aware of.

“I know I wasn’t speeding, officer,” Josh offered as the policeman approached his door.

“Yes, you were, sir,” the officer responded, surprisingly with a smile. A lie, I thought. “License and registration, please.”

Knowing all too well that it was going to take a miracle to keep him from being arrested right there, Josh, ever-protective of his children and family, asked the officer if they could get out of the van to use the restrooms. If the worse happened, he didn’t want his children to see him in handcuffs or in the back of a police car. The officer said “Sure,” again, with the same smile on his face.

With his entire family inside, Josh tried to convince the officer to please let him get his family to safety and then he would return home to deal with the issue. His wife had no idea how to make the rest of the long journey without him, he shared. But, still being kind, the officer said that he just couldn’t do that. He had to take him in.

Sammie’s phone rang from inside the gas station. “He is arresting me,” came Josh’s shaky voice through the phone. Her heart sank again. “You are going to have to make the rest of this trip without me. Sam, you can do it.” His voice quickly changed and now held a firmness to it. He knew he had to appear strong or she would quickly become unraveled.

Tears filled Sammie’s eyes. She’d been married to this man for 15 years and for 15 years he’d taken care of her, done everything for her…made her life so easy. Now, he was telling her she had to continue on this long journey without him. OK, but when they arrived, what then? Josh had shielded her from the real world for so long, she wasn’t sure if she could take a breath without him. But, she had to…for their kids. If she had been alone, she might have given up right then and there.

Sammie stood in the parking lot and watched the officer drive away with her husband in the back seat of the car, while she had asked the kids to stay inside and away from the windows.

When she realized that she wasn’t dreaming, she wiped her tear-stained face with the tissue in her hand. Composed and in brave face, she walked back inside to collect her children, as they were now both her reason and her strength to get them through this long, arduous journey – a weekend without their father and then back to Texas, safe and sound.

Sammie had no idea how hard it would be once they headed back home five days later with the questions and comments from the kids about their father. “We can’t leave here without him,” said 8-year-old Vanessa. “How is he going to get home?” asked 12-year-old Maggie. “Why can’t we just stay here until this is straightened out? It can’t take that long,” added 16-year-old Zandra, the sassy one of the bunch. Sammie was thankful at that moment that Jeremy had chosen to remain silent. His un-asked question was one less stab to her heart.

Not knowing the severity of the situation, Sammie drove along, oblivious to all those words that could cut deep into her heart. How would she find the words to tell these kids, who had never gone more than 7 hours without seeing the dad they worshipped, that she didn’t know when he’d be coming home again?

 

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author: Nonnie Jules