Laws

Marriage = an institution free from state-mandated gender roles

Article: Marriage = an institution free from state-mandated gender roles

Everyone’s saying you’ve just got to read the full text of Judge Vaughn Walker’s overturning of Prop 8 in California last Wednesday — apparently it’s a page turner! You can view it here in full. We admit, we haven’t yet read the whole thing ourselves, but thanks to Rachel Maddow, we were apprised of one…

What we talk about when we talk about boobs, part 2

Article: What we talk about when we talk about boobs, part 2

On Monday here we introduced the book Uncovered by Jordan Matter, and featured four of the women in the book. Today we feature four more portraits and interviews.

Em & Lo: How did you two end up taking part in this photo shoot?

Mike: I heard about the project somewhat based on my working as a figure model, as a male, I would clearly not qualify but mentioned it to Mary. She agreed to pose and wanted me to pose with her as well.
Mary: And I am always up for a trip to NY.

What we talk about when we talk about boobs

Article: What we talk about when we talk about boobs

We have to admit, when we first heard about Jordan Matter’s book Uncovered — topless portraits of more than 80 normal women (i.e. not models), all shot in public in NYC — we were cynical. First of all, it’s hard to get past the fact that Jordan Matter is a dude, who spent six years photographing topless women. Sure, some of the women are old enough to be his grandmother and there is an impressive range of body types featured. Still, we found it hard to get excited by the whole “embrace your body” message coming from a guy. Plus, while some of the jokes in the photos work, like the woman standing topless in front of a street stall selling knock-off bras, some — like the woman walking home from the office, topless with pearls from the waist up, corporate from the waist down — gave us second-hand embarrassment.

But then we started interviewing the women who participated in this project, and reading their personal statements that accompany their portraits in the book, as well as the awesome forward by Susan Seligson, author of the memoir Stacked: A 32DDD Reports from the Front (who, to her surprise, ended up posing as well). And our cynicism started to crumble. Also, turns out it’s legal to be topless in the city — who knew?! Seligson writes in the foreward:

“For all the lusting, leering and hooting my breasts have attracted, exposing them of my own volition seemed to shift the power base. When I remove my top and bra on a city street, if anyone is the aggressor it’s me alone. How can I be the victim if I stage a pre-emptive strike? The experience left me feeling upbeat and somehow victorious, and the effect lingered for days.”

Heartbroken fiancee fought the law and the law won

Article: Heartbroken fiancee fought the law and the law won

Late last year we published an excerpt from our friend Robin’s book (So Sue Me, Jackass! Avoiding Legal Pitfalls That Can Come Back to Bite You at Work, at Home, and at Play) about who gets to keep the ring after a broken engagement. The lawerly response? “While common courtesy dictates that the ring should remain with the dumpee, the law in most jurisdictions dictates that if a ring is given in contemplation of marriage, the woman doesn’t take title to the ring until the marriage takes place. That means if the marriage doesn’t take place, the ring goes back to the giver.”

No sex? Deal-breaker. No turkey together? That's okay, says NY court.

Article: No sex? Deal-breaker. No turkey together? That's okay, says NY court.

photo by walknboston We hope that you’re sitting down to enjoy turkey (or tofurkey) with a loved one today. But if your loved one refuses to partake in the holiday celebration, we thought you should know that — acccording to a New York court, at least — that’s not as bad as refusing to partake…

The First Amendment and Betty Dodson's genital art

Article: The First Amendment and Betty Dodson's genital art

photo via erix!

We admit, genital art isn’t really our thing. We’ve seen our share at downtown art shows (and, ahem, on our own TV show in the U.K.), and, while we’re glad that people are out there creating work like this, we don’t have any hanging on our walls.

That said, we totally, absolutely, 100% understand how important genital art is in helping both women and men understand what sex organs really look like outside of the porn world. As porn increasingly becomes a source of sex education, and as women feel pressured to dye, bleach, and pluck their way to the perfect look — or even, god forbid, go under the knife to get it via labiaplasty — images of real, average vulvas become more important than ever.

Books: So Sue Me, Jackass!

Article: Books: So Sue Me, Jackass!

You know all those questions that you really want to ask when you meet a lawyer at a cocktail party? But you restrain yourself because you figure it’s not polite to ask a complete stranger whether you could get sued if you broke someone’s penis during sex. Well, our friend Robin Epstein and her sister Amy Epstein Feldman have written a book to save you the embarrassment: So Sue Me, Jackass! Avoiding Legal Pitfalls That Can Come Back to Bite You at Work, at Home, and at Play. “At Play” being our favorite topic, of course — like, who gets to keep the ring in a broken engagement? Are you really “common law married” if you live together for seven years? Can you claim temporary insanity and get out of your marriage if you were drunk when you said “I do”? And why the hell do mattresses have tags that say “Do not remove under penalty of law”? Anyway, about that broken penis…

Alabama Supreme Court upholds sex toy ban

Article: Alabama Supreme Court upholds sex toy ban

photo by steakpinball

We have a special place in our hearts for Sherri Williams: the owner of a sex toy store called Love Stuff in Hoover, Alabama, she has been fighting her state’s ban on sex toys since the law was enacted in 1998. Yep, you read right, 1998: this isn’t an antiquated law Williams is trying to scrape off the books, it’s a shiny new law to keep all good vibrations out of Alabama. Sadly, her 11-year legal battle just hit a dead-end in the state’s Supreme Court: They voted 7-2 to reject a challenge to the state law that bans the sale of sex toys except for limited purposes.