Friday, August 28, 2015

An Open Letter to Danica Dillon, the stripper and porn star who had sex with Josh Duggar:

I will admit I had mixed feelings when I saw your story splashed all over the news. Everywhere I turned, there was some variation of the headline: Josh Duggar Cheated With Me!”: Woman Tells All About Their Two Sexual Encounters.

At once, I understood and felt compassion toward you, but I also felt revulsion and anger.
But I know you are only reflecting back to me something I recognize in myself.

I was once a sex worker.

Once upon a time…I was stripper and a nude model. I made my money off of men and their desires.

And I was in utter denial for a lot of my time in the business.

I did dangerous things.

And while many assume that I had an amazing amount of courage to stand onstage naked and an extremely high level of self-esteem and confidence, it was quite the opposite.

When I read that you had sex for money with Josh Duggar and were now sharing the details, I did not blame you for sharing your experience, for wanting to cash in on your story. I applaud you for coming forward. I applaud you for telling your story.

I don’t even care if it was all done purely for profit and not to raise the consciousness of the problems women in the industry face, or if you are only hoping for your fifteen minutes of fame.

None of that matters after I read the small details that broke my heart and that I hope can save some other women from walking down your path—my path.

You said, “He was manhandling me, basically tossing me around like I was a rag doll. It was very traumatic. I’ve had rough sex before, but this was terrifying.”

It was that word that I fixated on.


And then after this terrifying experience, he shorted you $500 of the agreed upon price of $1,500.

And then you met him again. And you have sex with him again. With a man whom with you had had an experience that was terrifying. With a man that could not be trusted.

If the story is true (you did pass a polygraph test), I feel so bad for you.

Again, this is because I recognize myself and the times I did things I felt I had no choice in, the times I put myself in danger because I thought this was the only way I could make money, the times I felt terrified, but did the things anyway.

And I was not even as hardcore as you; I was not a porn star or a prostitute. I was simply a stripper and nude model.

When I think of you walking back into a room with a man who terrified you, who didn’t even pay you what he said he would, I am reminded of my own vulnerability, my own stupidity, my own depression, my own lack of value.

I feel so sad for you, me and all women who have walked into terrifying experiences because we did not know our own value, because we thought we could not ask or expect more, because it felt like our only choice, because we loathed ourselves that much, because we were that scared that we were inconsequential in every other way, because we thought we were only valued for our bodies and our sexiness, because we did not know or feel our inherent value as human beings.

I was there, in similar ways, and while maybe no one else is expressing it, while everyone else is focusing on you being the bad one and while you will say you are empowered by what you do, I just want to say, you are valuable.

You are valuable and valued. I sit here in my office, miles away from you now in so many ways, but I know this and I want you and every young woman thinking fame and fortune and value is to be found in our sexiness to hear it—I see you. I really see you. And I am here for you if you ever need someone to talk to.

There are other choices that you can make.

You do not have to, nor should you (or any woman), ever have to be terrified again.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What Does a Feminist Look Like?

Yesterday was all about kids rocking gender-neutral clothes, so today I thought I’d give a shout out to a fashion company that features shirts with messages that are anti-everything that sucks, FCKH8.

The company has a new anti-sexism video that promotes their “This is what a feminist looks like” tee shirt.

And while they do use the “Real Woman” message in the video, which some women complain about, they are not saying that a real woman can’t be a thin model either, they are saying a real woman is just whatever she is!

FCKH8 has gotten some bad press recently with an accusation that sometimes their business practices are not respectful to some of the very people they claim to support. Also, some people find it offensive the way the company is making profits over serious issues.

I can understand both sides of the issue. It’s true that the tee shirts are great little billboards that spread positive messages, but it’s also true that it’s a for-profit company.

Do you have a problem with a business making profits off of promoting important messages about controversial subjects?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Girls Like Dinosaurs, Too

Bravo to the mompreneurs highlighted in CNN’s #ClothesWithoutLimits: Fed-up moms create their own clothing for girls.

These moms, whose daughters were not into the typical Justice pink, purple and sparkle clothing, created their own clothing lines that include shirts for girls with what most would describe as “typical boy” imagery: dinosaurs, soccer balls, tools.

Because not all girls want to be princesses—or look like them.

How fabulous that in the future girls might be able to go to their local shop and find clothing that suits everybody.

Speaking of suits, one of the moms is even trying to create a line of suits for girls, Suit Her.

While it may be awhile before we start seeing clothing lines like Princess Free Zone or Girls Will Be in our local stores, thanks to the Internet, girls are being given more options in how they can see themselves and present themselves to the world.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Donald Trump Gets Away With More Female Bashing

Just a few days ago, I was pointing out how I am so good at seeing both sides of an issue. I was explaining how people get so heated up by an issue.

Now here I am today getting all riled up about a news story.
I want to say, How can we seriously be entertaining this dude as a presidential candidate?

I want to say, Oh my God, why is there any tolerance for what this guy is shoveling out?

I want to say, What the bleeping bleep?

But the fact that I am not surprised that he is still being taken seriously shows a lot about the state of women in our country.

If a female candidate were to say the sort of bs stuff Trump is spouting about him—there would be an uproar.

But Trump can seriously send out tweets like this and not cause a national uproar:
@mstanish53: @realDonaldTrump @megynkelly The bimbo back in town . I hope not for long
@bigpaulfla: @realDonaldTrump She has come back looking like Nancy Grace
If one of my English 101 students wrote something like this argument in a paper, they would get an “F” for an ad hominem attack.

How is this man getting away with this misogynistic attitude?

Again, I catch myself, this is the state of our Union…

Monday, August 24, 2015

Changing the Face of Advertising

Advertising is catching up with reality and providing consumers with what they want to see—diversity.

Not only are we witnessing more fashion companies sharing models of varying body sizes, but we’re also seeing more inclusion of models with disabilities in advertising.

While the fashion industry is unlikely to change completely, any steps toward inclusion are a good thing.

What do you think? Is there anyone still being left out of the big picture?

Do you think campaigns that tag photos with hashtags like #changingthefaceofbeauty and #ImGoingBackToSchoolToo are making a difference in the level of acceptance in the general population of those with disabilities or is it just the latest trend in marketing?