[Placeholder for an image of the purple Mardi Gras hat that WordPress is having difficulty carrying over to this entry. I chose my purple Mardi Gras hat for a few reasons. First, back in the early days of ProsePetals, back in those dAys (linked below), the purple “pimp hat” emoji was what I used when I was promoting fellow writers and artists (the “pimp hat” and its purpleness always brought an eyeroll & a chuckle). Second, I still love promoting people – whether they be writers, artists, educators, colleagues, therapists, scientists…connecting and building means honoring others. Third, FJ & I wound up in NOLA at the same time, and within probably three blocks of each other a few years ago, and I missed an opportunity to meet one of my sheroes. Sigh 🙂 Fourth, and most importantly: #purpleisahabit ]
(YNOPICS? I am not adding photographs of FJ here, because I did not seek out her permission prior to posting up something; I wanted this entry to be a happy surprise, and I respect her way too much to put up pictures of her without her express, advance consent. So that and the WP cock-up above with the placeholder are the reasons there aren’t any pics in this blog entry. If ya wanna know, you can go a’googlin’…)
With things here in WSE shifting and all the different updates that are happening behind the scenes, I haven’t posted the entries I had previously planned for last month and this month. That’s okay, though, since I’m starting something here I’m choosing to call Freak Flag Friday (as in, baby let your freak flag fly!). This won’t be every Friday, since with everything going on, I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to feature someone every single Friday, or even one Friday per month at this point. I’m sticking with random for now…with the aim of one per quarter or so…and building up to monthly as time goes by.
I still plan on returning to Hump Day funnies for midweek entries…and maybe resurrecting Dr. PruthPetals Westhummer’s old character from the dustbins remaining in storage over at dAt other place from back when…well, back when ProsePetals was my only online moniker, back before I actually got the formal title, and suddenly PruthPetals Westhummer wasn’t as funny (or real) as Dr Weirdz — since, well, I’m not pretending to be someone doing something — I’m me really doing that something…without the poorly-written accent I can’t imitate anyway, but that I’ve always loved listening to, since I adore Dr. Ruth…really and truly. I just haven’t yet quite figured out how I will coalesce these things in a fun and hopefully meaningful way. Which is what the Freak Flag Friday idea is all about. It’s the idea of featuring someone I admire…someone who has a strong voice in the world I navigate (personally, academically, and/or professionally). They don’t have to be a sex educator or therapist. They don’t actually have to be in the “World of Sex (Education)” at all — but there must be a reason connected with WSE. I have a large list of people I hope to feature…for all kinds of different reasons, so, here we go.
Over in WSE’s Facebook page, for today’s Freak Flag Friday feature, I posted about Feminista Jones. I haven’t posted about her in this blog before, though I’ve shared and promoted her over on my personal blog more than once. She is amazing. There are plenty of reasons I admire her (as a woman, as a parent, as a writer, as an activist, as a professional, as a leader)…but here in this blog, I have to be more specific. I can’t just feature anyone here. Over in the places I’m ProsePetals, I can say whatever I please, without too much regard for certain rules that I abide by and enforce here in this space…which is dedicated to parental sex education — which I will be explaining further in upcoming blog entries (especially after that thing that happened with Jay & Silent Bob…yikes!).
Here, the focus is sex education, focused on parents primarily — parents of kids at different ages and stages of development, parents of adult children, parents of aging parents (yes, sex ed still matters for our parents, if you’re fortunate enough to still have yours with you), the list goes on. My focus is mainly on parents, but the overarching focus is sex education for everyone, and I mean this in terms of: Comprehensive, all-inclusive, sex-positive, body-positive pleasure-focused sex education. To include realms of paraphilia (more commonly known as “kink”) that are typically outside the “standard heteronormative” world of sexual folks (and I know few within the Ace umbrella who care about this topic one way or another).
The entire BDSM world (and everyone who treasures enthusiastic consent) was slapped in the face by the author of the “50 Shades” (travesty) trilogy. No matter how many times I’ve been asked (too many) if I’ve read those books (yes), what I personally think of the books (not much) has nothing to do with whether or not I would “recommend” them to anyone (depends). To me, the trilogy wasn’t really altogether different from the Sleeping Beauty Quartet by A. N. Roquelaure (one of Anne Rice’s pen names)…which used to be a trilogy until Rice herself jumped back into the quasi BDSM/”rough sex” fantasy arena. But neither Rice nor James did their homework…at least not even halfway thoroughly.
Their fantasy realms trade authentic and potentially meaningful stories within and about “The Life” for cheap and trite storytelling devices (virgin/esque, prince, and baby makes three bullsh…*ahem*) that are often incredibly abusive (even while promoting consent in a backhanded and underhanded way that their characters, and most especially the lead female characters, are not generally considered as deserving OF consideration for consent). And do not get me started on the so-called mental health “angle” on the “male lead” characters in those stories and how stigmatizing of mental illness plays into some of the worst aspects of humanity, then tries to point at “rough sex” (which is really rape) and completely misjudges the BDSM world for such wrongheaded bullsh…*ahem*…and they trade those things because sex sells. It does, and big. This isn’t any shock to anyone …I hope.
This also isn’t to suggest I discourage anyone from reading them…far from it. I encourage folks to read, period, and to read about sex. Read about sex for education and for pleasure! To include either the trilogy and/or the quartet. If the BDSM world is something completely new to you, and you want to try something new with your partner (or on your own, if you’re single)…well, cool. I won’t yuck on anyone else’s yum (I judge exactly nobody in this area, period).
I’m just sayin’ that if an authentic, hot, meaningful, hot, human, hot story told from the Kink perspective is what you’re lookin’ for, then you won’t find it in those books mentioned above. There are other, far better writers in this particular realm, and I have a few personal favorites whose copies on my WSE shelves are treasures to me. Truly. Including Push the Button.
(Did I mention hot?)
Now, I could sit here and tell you what all I love about PtB, but I am not one who believes in giving away spoilers. I read it in small chunks that FJ shared at the time, and I was always excited for the next entry! So of course when it was published, you bet I supported her! Oh…yeah, I mentioned that it’s hot…and that it tells an authentic, meaningful, human story from the Kink perspective. I could point you to her Amazon bio page, which tells readers that FJ is an “award-winning writer and blogger who focuses on health and well-being, specifically in areas of mental health, sexual health, and physical health” who “has been regularly featured on Huffingpost Live, has appeared on the Dr. Oz Show and the Exhale Show, and her work has been featured on C-SPAN and MSNBC” — those things are awesome, of course, and lend credibility to her influence as a leader. The fact that those things are true aren’t why I chose to feature her.
I could also sit here and try to tell you that it’s because of my alter-ego, ProsePetals, and the love of poetry. I could sit here and encourage you to check out FJ’s other book, The Secret of Sugar Water, whispering sweet nothings about how Prosey positively swooned upon learning that FJ’s poetry was in a book. I could…and I just did…but that also isn’t why I chose to feature her.
Earlier in this blog, I noted that I have certain rules that I abide by and enforce here in this space. Those rules have to do with any individual I might feature in the future, and my actual reasons for featuring them being aligned with the mission and vision of Weird Sex Ed, Inc., as an organization. That is more important than being aligned as individuals (which is nice, too, of course, but…) – it’s actually something expected of WSE, whenever I post about anything here. There are actual official rules that oversee nonprofits, so…*shrug* I’m simply abiding by what they set forth.
Which brings me to this:
“She is currently the Love & Sex section editor at BlogHer.com. She co-hosts a sex-positive feminist podcast called This Week In Blackness: After Dark, which discusses topics related to sex and sexuality, race, and feminism. Feminista has been featured in several online publications, notably as a contributor to Salon.com, TIME.com, columnist at Ebony.com, and has been syndicated in TheRoot.com and TheGriot.com.”
Feminista Jones is admittedly one of my personal sheroes — I’ve been following her for a very long time, even before WSE was an idea (much less an organization), before I finished either of my most recent degrees, actually. Her Knob-Slobbing Feminism blog was one of the first I added to the “prosaic mosaic” over in pros/e/yes (most of the entries there are currently archived while everything with ProsePetals and WSE is under construction) – and I know she was in my blogroll in my previous blog. I began following her because she and I share intersectional interests, and pursue similar pathways, professionally (if in different fields and with different focal points). Crossing her path was probably inevitable for me, given the pathways I explore as a phenomenologist focused on human sexuality and education…with emphasis on parents.
The more I’ve read FJ write about culture, feminism, health and wellness (physical and mental), body image issues, women’s issues, street harassment…as I’ve been enriched by her willingness to share what she observes on her travels, snippets of her daily life, her beautiful son…whether in twitter or instagram, or even back before the Facebook fiasco happened (sigh)…the more I’ve read her, the deeper my admiration has grown. Before I decided to write this entry, I made sure that I gave the less-cleaned up version of this tribute to one of my favorite writers directly to her over in Instagram (and I got hit right in the feels when she replied).
Here, she is featured because of who she is as a professional in our shared field, and why she is respected by me as a fellow leader, educator, writer, all-inclusive, sex-positive, body-positive parent who also happens to dig poetry and steamy writing that tells a meaningful story. (And I still gave no spoilers.)
Coming soon: What’s happening with “Sex & Parents: 150 Years of Sex Education in the United States” – will cover what’s happening with the business and the book. Also ProsePetals’ “Bloodletting” may intersect with Weird Sex Ed…inadvertently, because of a question from a parent that goes into the subject of when young boys are raped by older peers. Because of that, “Backseat Drivers in Lovers Lane” will need to also be discussed. Watch this space!