Posts Tagged ‘sex’

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil by clarita at morguefile.comHave you ever seen a meme that reminded you of something that you’d rather forget?

First, we need to flash back more years than I’d like to admit.

I was out of high school and had a job, but couldn’t afford an apartment. I was living at home, and our house was small. My bedroom shared a wall with my parents’ room.

I woke up, and from the room right next to mine, I heard my father moaning.

It was about 6 a.m.  I really, really needed to pee. The bathroom was right there – if I walked into the hallway that both bedrooms went out into. And it didn’t sound like their door was closed.

I stayed quiet, and I stayed in bed.

Now we need to flash back even further.

When I was a teenager I had an awesome cat, but he had asthma. The poor kitty would get all not-breathing-so-good and we’d bring him to the vet to get a shot, and then he’d be better.

Of course, this not-breathing-so-good normally happened on evenings, holidays, and weekends. You know, when the normal vet office was closed, so we’d have to go to the emergency clinic.

That’s where we were. Waiting. I’d brought a book (probably science fiction or horror at that age), and my father had brought a programming book.

He shifted the book, and a piece of paper fell out and hit the floor. I grabbed it, being the oh so awesome and nice person that I am. But then I looked at it because I’m not really that awesome and nice.

It was a checklist of symptoms for depression. Clearly, my mother had filled it out and given it to him.

I don’t remember all the things that were checked off, but one of them was quite noticeable.

It had been checked off, circled, starred, and highlighted.

Which one?

Lack of sexual desire.

Continuing with my lack of niceness and awesomeness, I laughed.

“That’s so funny!” I said.

My father looked at me, as serious as I’ve ever seen him.

“No,” he said. “No. It’s not.”

That just made me laugh harder.

Now flash back to the moment when I woke up and heard noise from my parents’ room.

I didn’t want to interrupt anything. Sure, it was super gross to think of my parents having sex, but I wasn’t dumb enough to think that they weren’t human beings with needs.

I thought I’d be quiet. Just hum to myself, cover my ears, pretend that nothing was going on. Ignore my bladder.

More moaning. Sounds of the bed moving.

I pretended more. Ignored more.

Then I heard it.

My mother.

“Should I wake up Kate?”

“Goddamn it!” I yelled. “He has another kidney stone, doesn’t he?!”

And that’s all I could think of when I saw this meme.

moaning

 

 

 

 

"Channel Solid Gold" by Abe Atri, CC-G, via Wikimedia Commons

“Channel Solid Gold” (a strip club in Mexico City) by Abe Atri, CC-G, via Wikimedia Commons

"Washington Redskin Cheerleaders" by dbking, CC-G, via Wikimedia Commons

“Washington Redskin Cheerleaders” by dbking, CC-G, via Wikimedia Commons

Seriously. This is a legitimate question, and I’d love some responses.

But first, let me tell you how I got to this question.

A news story popped up because some new cheerleader outfits were being called too skimpy and revealing.

I went to check out the article, and there was a great quote from a guy who claimed that there was nothing wrong with the outfits that bear a striking resemblance to something found in Victoria’s Secret or Frederick’s of Hollywood. But, he was careful to note, his daughter (also a cheerleader) would never be allowed to wear something like that.   “‘I think they’re a little overdressed. Of course, I’ve got a daughter who’s a cheerleader down there, and she will not be wearing anything like that,’ said Dennis Stanek.

Ah, the joys of hypocrisy!

This whole exchange got me interested, though, in the careers of professional cheerleaders. Just why is it worth it for them to engage in cheering on these sports teams? What do they get out of it? Is it just, as the article says, that they “[cater] to that 14-year-old boy or even that 30-year-old woman that they can inspire”? (Which, I’d like to assure you, I find hard to believe – perhaps men of all ages, but unless you assume all women are lesbians, that “inspiration” is lacking.)

So I went and found another article, one that talked about the Redskin cheerleaders, just to use as an example.  The cheerleaders who make the cut get paid – are you ready? – a whopping $75 per home game performance!  Wow, huge bucks in that field!  Now, to be fair, they also receive a pair of season tickets, but, of course, they’re working during the games, so they have to give those away.  Now, here comes all the unpaid work: two to five practices a week, lasting up to six hours each; practicing and studying the choreography outside of the practices; exercising, tanning, dieting, etc. and all those other goodies that they have to do to keep up their “look;” and eight days every year for a calendar shoot (they don’t receive any proceeds from the calendar sale, FYI).  Then there are the game days themselves, which means that most of the cheerleaders are up early in the morning to get ready and be at the field before 8 a.m. for a 1 p.m. game.  Then, assuming all goes well, the cheerleaders are done by 6 p.m.  On top of that, the Redskins won’t state how much the cheerleaders make for their personal appearances at various locations (which the Redskins charge for), plus any of the images of the cheerleaders are used without any fees going to the women, even though the football players are paid for the use of their likenesses.

Sounding like a raw deal?

Let me also note that the average salary for an NFL football player is $770,000 a year (as of 2010 figures), although the low end is a measly $200,000 and the high end a whopping $1.4 million.   To play a sport, and sometimes, I might note, play it really, really poorly.  I wonder if cheerleaders would get contracts like that if they fumbled and dropped the ball, so to speak…

Regardless, let’s get real now.

Strippers.

Forbes, in October of 2011, had an awesome series on strippers.  The strippers they talked to earned a whole lot more than those cheerleaders, and, depending on where they were, sometimes wore just as much.  (Remember, some areas, do not allow full nudity…)  So, one woman earned anywhere from $23 to $31 an hour.  When she worked anywhere from 75 to 96 hours per month (how many hours do you put in? 160 or more?), she took home about $2,200 to $2,900 a month.  On top of that, she was able to deduct all of her expenses for waxing, costumes, make-up, etc.  Another woman they talked to earned up to $4,400 a month, again working only 9 days that month.  The women admit that age can lower their earnings, and some months are worse than others, but we’re still talking about performing in scanty outfits.

Let’s look at it this way:
Similarities: Must be in good physical condition.  Must keep up their appearance.  Must wear skimpy outfits and perform in public.
Differences: $75 for a full day’s work.  $120 for about 4 hours’ work.

So, again, let me ask the question: Why be a cheerleader when stripping pays better?

By H16794 U.S. Copyright Office. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By H16794 U.S. Copyright Office. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s kind of sad I have to ask, but I just do.

Here’s the thing: I read the news.  Lots of news.  And I saw a link on my local news for “Glamour Women of the Year Awards.”  And it’s just a slideshow.  Thirty-four photos.  And some of the “thumbnails” are of the women’s waists.  Others are just faces.  And there is nothing on the page anywhere about what these awards are for.  It’s just a bunch of pretty faces.  Nothing to identify what these awards are for.

Okay, that’s odd…normally people care about what awards are for, right?  If we were looking at “Men of the Year Awards,” wouldn’t we care about what they were for?  Wouldn’t there be a mention somewhere?  Somehow?

But going to Glamour’s website doesn’t help.  Instead, there are great headlines that tell me that I should own dresses, know sex tips, and will be judged by my body.  Thanks, Glamour, that’s exactly what I was looking for!

I went ahead and Googled it, thinking maybe eventually I would find the information.  I could find only a single page that wasn’t a bunch of photos.  Celebrity-Gossip.net actually listed the awards and the winners.

Hmmm.  Helpful, but not too helpful.  Then I found it – the best page that told me the true purpose of the “awards.”  The Huffington Post stood up and shouted it – “This Week in Beauty: Best & Worst From the ‘Glamour’ Women of the Year Awards 2012.”   And how awesome, you can judge the women and rank them!  Cause, you know, the awards were only about how they looked.  What else could they be?  And if you check out the comments, it’s clear that is the only point of the awards.  People –both male and female – insult the women in the photos, making fun of their eyebrows, eyeshadow, and roots.

Yes, this is another rant.  But it’s a worthwhile rant.  Why don’t we notice these things?  Why don’t we call them out?  Why don’t we argue and shout and tell these people that we mind what they do?  There are only two options: we don’t mind, or we do and we keep quiet about it.  So let’s not keep quiet.  Let’s talk about it and argue and shout.  Because if we don’t, who will?

One of the first SF authors I was introduced to was Heinlein (“I learned it from watching you, Dad!” – the reference for those who get it).  And for years and years, I fondly remembered the short story “The Roads Must Roll.”  It was a story I’d recommended to others.  Fun.  Interesting.  Awesome starter for anyone who wanted to read SF.  I looked back on it and loved it.

Then, almost 20 years later, I read it again, this time for a grad-level class on SF.  And oh my god! Suddenly I realized that this excellent, amazing, classic of a story was awful.  No, not the writing or the plot.  But the treatment of women! 

As an uber-feminist, I was shocked that 12 year old me didn’t notice just how badly the women were treated – and ignored – as human beings in the story.

Amazing what happens when we read something from a new perspective.  Which is why I now find myself in possession of the 75th Anniversary Edition of “Is Sex Necessary?” by James Thurber and E.B. White.  This version, unlike the one I read as a child, has a forward by John Updike that discusses many of Thurber’s issues and sheds light on why this comedic masterpiece may not be as funny as all that after all.

So here I go, plunging into the depth of another memory and seeing if I’ll emerge unscathed or soaking wet.  Wish me luck!