Getting a Grip on our Views on Sexuality

I was at a dinner party this weekend and we were talking about the HBO show, Game of Thrones. As soon as it came up, one of the husbands got aggravated and said he hated the show because there was so much gratuitous sexuality and nudity.  This led, predictably, to a divide of those who said that the sex was the only reason they watched it and those who thought it went too far.

To each their own.  But what struck me is that, while 3 people there had a moderate to high issue with the level of nudity, no one mentioned the gratuitous violence.  This is a program where a leading character is explicitly decapitated in the first episode (or near first – can;t remember).

This bothered me.  Personally, I am ok with both sex and violence on TV that is intended for adults, but I understand the people who like neither.  I do, however, have a bit of a hard time with those who see nudity and sexuality as completely unacceptable, but violence as just fine.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the damage we do to ourselves, our relationships and society by stigmatizing sex in the way that we do.  To treat sex as dirty, impure and inappropriate and taboo is to vilify our most basic desire.  I will blog more on this in days/weeks to come, but what I want to think through and share is how society could be improved if e turned our views on sexuality and desire on its head and started to treat it as natural and positive instead of evil.  I am going to try to be objective and consider the pros and cons, but intuitively, I think we would be far better off. We’ll see.

Globe and Mail Coverage of Rob Ford – made me like each of them less

The Globe and Mail did a feature article yesterday on Rob Ford’s family association with drug dealing.  By many accounts, Rob’s brother Doug – a Toronto city councillor and Rob’s most trusted advisor – dealt hash while in high school.  It was a major article, running four pages, digging up scores of high school associates of the Ford brothers who built a pretty compelling case that Doug probably did deal in high school and that the entire Ford family (with the likely exception of Rob) was pretty involved in the local soft drug trade.

Is anyone really surprised at this?  If The Wire were shot in suburban Toronto, Doug Ford IS D’Angelo Barksdale –  a young, bright, ambitious bully with a narrow sense of loyalty and a belief that he can make up his won rules.   

Doug Ford comes across as having been a stereotypical suburban high school jerk – the drug dealing football player from an 80’s John Hughes movie. But who cares.  What matters is not that Doug may have been an asshole in high school – many people were and matured out of it quite well.  

What really matters is that he (and Rob) have never grown up.  They are still complete assholes who believe politics is a popularity contest, accountability to the media and the public is not an imperative of the job and that personal and intellectual discipline are elitist.

Rob Ford is an awful mayor and Doug is an awful councillor and advisor.  Running the 6th largest government in Canada requires professionalism and discipline.  They exhibit neither.  They don’t allow themselves to be informed by staff or evidence; they exercise no restraint over their impulses and they celebrate – and are celebrated for – boorish tendencies that diminish government and his office.  

It doesn’t matter that Doug may have been a small time drug dealer in high school or that Rob may or may not have been involved.  It matters that they never grew up, they are crappy politicians  and that they still have idiotic members of “Ford Nation” who celebrate their ineptitude.  The Globe diminished itself with a hatchet job that is irrelevant to the controversy now surrounding Rob.  But the fact remains – the Fords are incompetent to run Toronto.

What happens when the pursuits of “skinny” and “strong” collide?

Fit and Feminist

By now I’m sure most of you are familiar with the saying “Strong is the new skinny.”  It shows up fairly regularly on fitspo images and in fitness circles as a way of promoting a new standard of female beauty, one that is focused on strength and physical power instead of weight loss and restriction.  The words are often accompanied by photos of women showing off glistening muscles while they pose with weights or perform feats of bodyweight strength.  If you have spent any time at all in the fit-o-sphere, you’ve seen what I’m talking about.

Now, I support the general idea behind the phrase.  I would prefer that women – and men, really – work to cultivate their bodies’ abilities rather than fight against them in an attempt to meet our culture’s incredibly fickle beauty standards.  But I also have some issues with the execution, which, as I…

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