Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

I saw the sun disappear today.

December 13th, 2017

Originally posted on Facebook, August 21, 2017.

I was in the Auxvasse Cemetery, in Auxvasse, Missouri. My experience today was quite literally colored by the clouds. As the eclipse approached so did a storm.

The first 50 or even 75% of the eclipse I don’t feel that the amount of light really changed. If I didn’t know it was happening I don’t think I would have noticed. Part of that may be because of the clouds that were coming in and we’re used to clouds causing less light.

As the eclipse approached 85-90% it did start to darken noticeably and very quickly. There are stories of battles in the ancient world that are stopped by eclipses. I can really see how that could happen now. As the eclipse begins everything seems normal, but you reach that point where it’s just too dark and you can see the sun is just a sliver of light in the sky.

For me, totality wasn’t the part that was most thought provoking. Maybe it was because of the clouds, where I couldn’t see the full effect of the black disc where the sun should be. I mean, I saw the moon blot out the sun, I saw the corona, I saw the edges of the sun just before and after totality. But it all had this fuzz of cloud over it. You know how on some days it’s overcast but at the perfect thickness where you can look directly at the sun and see that it’s round? It felt sort of like that. I wasn’t looking into black nothingness like I would have been if the sky were clear.

But, I think that gave me something that I wouldn’t have seen with clear skies. Right at the end of totality I didn’t see the white light of the sun. I saw reds, and blues, and purples as the sun re-emerged. Normally I’d think these colors in a photo would be the result of chromatic aberration, the limits of physics and the way camera lenses bend light. But I saw these colors with my own eyes. I think it was the clouds. The clouds, the little water droplets, were bending the light. I didn’t get a clear view of the sun, but I still saw something amazing.

There was one aspect that was very otherworldly. As totality approached it got dark, twilight is how everyone describes it. I could still see everything around me, still able to see across the cemetery, my phone, the controls on my camera. It wasn’t the amount of light that was weird, it was the direction. You see every other day that I’ve been alive, when it gets that dark the light is always coming from the side. Twilight, sunrise and sunset. But today the light was from overhead. It’s not an earth shattering, change my life revelation, but it is a very strange feeling to have a physical experience that contradicts every other experience you’ve had up to that point.

I saw the sun disappear and it was amazing.

The image is a composite combining a shot from today with one I shot 2 weeks ago.

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Three requirements I have for a mate.

March 7th, 2011

I’ve put off writing this post, and the series of posts that will follow it, for about 4 or 5 months now.

It’s not that I don’t believe what I’m about to write.

It’s not that I know it will be a lot of work to get all the topics covered.

And it’s not that I don’t really want to get this out there.

 

It’s that I think that too many people are going to take it the wrong way.

 

This post and the ones following are about what I look for in a woman.

What this series is NOT about:

It’s not about all women.  Many, probably even most, women are not what I am looking for.  It doesn’t mean that most women are bad, or wrong, or inferior.  Just different.

It’s not about how women SHOULD look.  Yes, I’m going to talk about physical attributes.  Yes, I generally have a specific type.  No, that does not mean I want need or expect all women to look that way.

 

Most things that can be compared between two people (two women) I have a preference.  Or at least an opinion.  Generally I’m open to different things and not too tied to specifics.  There are three things though that I’ve come to realize that I require in a woman that I’m considering for a mate or a serious relationship.

Number 1.

She must be attractive.

A lot of people are going to read that, put their own prejudices and ideas on it, and think I mean a woman needs to look a specific way.  They’re going to call me shallow, a male chauvinist and a misogynist.  Fine, if that’s the only way you can see that statement then it’s done it’s job.  I wouldn’t want to be with someone who thought those things.  But really think about how you choose a mate.  Would you really want to choose someone who was unattractive?  That’s what I’m saying.  I need to be attracted to her.  However she looks if the question “Is she attractive?” can be answered with a “yes”, what more do I need?  And I’m certainly not saying that other people need to think she’s attractive.

 

Number 2.

She must think of herself as attractive.

Because if she doesn’t think she looks good, why should I?  I’ve been around too many women who put themselves down, who are never satisfied, who can’t even accept a compliment.  And that’s just draining.  Yes, you could certainly take this one too far.  I don’t want a narcissist, or someone with no desire to better themselves.  But in general she should be happy with how she looks.

 

Number 3.

She must enjoy posing nude for me.

I think this one is going to be the most limiting.  But it is very important to me.

From a leisure standpoint, photographing nudes is something I enjoy.  And I enjoy it even more when I can share it with someone I’m in a relationship with.  This is no different than someone who enjoys motorcycles also wanting their mate to like motorcycles.

From a practical standpoint, someone who knows what happens during a photo shoot should be less likely to feel any jealousy or fear when I photograph others.

Personality wise, women I have photographed nude have been more confident, independent, daring, open, and comfortable with themselves.  All of these are qualities that I feel are important.  I’m not saying that a woman who doesn’t pose nude can not be those things, but I have not met a person who has posed nude who doesn’t have these attributes.

This requirement will also weed out a large number of women who allow others to make decisions for them.  There are many people and organizations in our country and elsewhere on our planet that feel that nudity is wrong and should be limited to a very small set of circumstances.  For a woman to decide to pose nude, and possibly go against the wishes and views of her parents, family, friends, religion, public opinion, and even the law; shows a remarkable ability for independent thought and decision making.

 

So those are my three requirements.  In the next post I will talk about what exact physical attributes I prefer.

 

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Indoctrinating children in a religious faith is abusive

February 18th, 2011

INDOCTRINATING CHILDREN IN A RELIGIOUS FAITH IS ABUSIVE

The article linked above is from December.  I’ve saved it, because I wanted to share and comment on it at some point.

It refrences The God Delusion, a 2006 book by Richard Dawkins.  I read the book when it came out and used to own a copy.  One part that many people think is more extreme is when Dawkins equates teaching, or indoctrinating, children in specific religions with child abuse.

If I recall correctly he begins that section by saying that there are not Christian children, or Jewish children, or Palestinian children, there are only children.  His reasoning is that children do not have the experience, knowledge, or in some cases mental ability to comprehend what religion is and what they believe.  That by teaching them at such a young age you are not allowing them to choose a religion.  Forcing them into your particular world view and associated biases.

Jesus and Mo - slack jesusandmo.net

This particular Jesus and Mo is not about religious teaching directly, but does bring up a very good point.  Much of what is done to children is done without their consent.  Often it’s done without asking for their consent.  Most people, most parents don’t even consider the possibility of asking their children what they would like to do.  Even parents who I think may be some of the most well informed and open among us.  If you read the comments on the article I linked you can see that even among Atheist parents, the concept is foreign.

“But wait,” you may say, “Didn’t you just say the children couldn’t make those decisions?”

Yes, I did.  But just because they can’t make them, doesn’t mean you should do it for them.

Too much in our society, children are treated as property.  What is done is not in the best interests of the child, but in the best interests of the parents.  Parents are given incredible leeway over how and what they can do to their children.

Why?  Just because you figured out how to fuck somebody?

You know in many parts of the country the process to paint your house a different color is much more difficult than the one to butcher a newborns penis.  Or that with one simple form, once a year, a child can be kept at home, cut off from the outside world.  And I’m not even going to mention what happens in some of the less developed nations of our planet.

That baby, that child, that teen, that’s a PERSON.  An individual that, by chance, shares 50% of your DNA.  So the next time you’re thinking of making a decision for your son or daughter ask yourself if you would feel comfortable making that same decision for your brother,

Or your sister,

Or your parents,

Or a stranger.

Because you don’t OWN your children.

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It’s all about choice.

February 1st, 2011

Some companies seem to understand the power of the internet.  And some don’t really.  And the difference  between them is often random.  Sure there are new media companies that “get” the internet, and old media companies that don’t, but the opposite is also true.

Often you’ll hear people talk about the power of the internet being in communication.  The ability of one person, or one company, to reach out to thousands, millions of people all over the world.  And while that is advantageous, for many companies the real power should be in personalization and customization.  An area where many companies fail by not even trying.

Netflix is a company that does very well in offering consumers a choice of services.  Something they’ve been doing, almost since the very beginning.  They currently offer 11 different subscription plans.

From their $4.99 a month limited DVD plan, to their streaming only $7.99 plan, the $9.99 One DVD plan, all the way up to their 8 DVD’s at a time plan for $55.99 a month.  Depending on how much you want to pay, and what you want to watch Netflix gives you quite the choice.

In addition, the streaming only plan and all of the DVD plans include unlimited viewing on any Netflix capable device.  And that list is huge, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360, Apple iOS devices, Apple TV, Google TV, other set top boxes, networked Blu-ray players, built in to select TV’s, and Windows Phone 7.  Netflix lists 35 separate devices on it’s website.

Now lets contrast that with Hulu.  A company that’s actually newer than Netflix.  Hulu has two plans.  There’s the free service and Hulu Plus, for $7.99 a month.  Hulu’s free service has select shows from NBC, ABC, FOX, and a few others.  Generally only the 5 most recent episodes, and the vast majority of them have commercials.  Now because I’m not paying for the shows I understand why there are commercials.  And since the commercials are only limited to only one or two per break I’m okay with that.  Somebody has to pay for the content, and advertisers appear willing.  The free Hulu service is limited to watching only on a Mac or PC.

Hulu Plus gives you every episode of current season shows, a large catalog of past seasons, 720p quality video, and the ability to watch on your Apple iOS device, PlayStation 3, select TV’s and set top devices, with many more coming soon.  But, and for me it’s a big but, it still has commercials.  That’s right, they want me to PAY THEM, to watch commercials.  This is where the problem is.  Would it really be that difficult or troublesome to have multiple plans, including some without commercial interruptions?  I would pay more than $7.99 a month for the things that Hulu Plus offers if it was commercial free.  But Hulu doesn’t want to give me that option.  I suspect it’s because the owners of Hulu, the traditional major networks, are beholden to the advertisers, and not the consumer.

Often this “mistrust” of the consumer isn’t limited to just the parent companies.  It can be seen in individual properties.  Sometimes even switching from one end to the other.  Take V, for example.  The reimagined series began in 2009 and was broadcast on ABC.  It was also available on Hulu, ABC.com, iTunes, and through the ABC iPad app.  But when season 2 began in January of 2011, it was only available via broadcast.  It is not available on Hulu, ABC.com, iTunes, the ABC iPad app, or any other legitimate streaming or digital service.  And though ABC has acknowleged episodes will not be available online, they haven’t really said why.

Unlike Bones, which embraces the internet like few other shows.  Bones can be watched

1.  Broadcast live with commercials

2.  Recorded from the live broadcast with my DVR, commercials can be skipped

3. The next day for free with commercials at FOX.com

4. The next day for free with commercials at Hulu.com

5. The next day for purchase, commercial free, from iTunes in HD $2.99

6.  The next day for purchase, commercial free, from iTunes in SD $1.99

7.  The next day for purchase, commercial free from iTunes in HD as part of the season $59.99 ($2.61 an episode)

8.  The next day for purchase, commercial free from iTunes in SD as part of the season $39.99 ($1.74 an episode)

9.  The next day for rental, commercial free from iTunes in HD $0.99

10.  At the end of the season when it is released on DVD for about $30-$40

11.  At the end of the season streaming on Netflix as part of your regular subscription.

12.  As repeats or in syndication.

Twelve different choices, with a cost to the consumer from free to $60.  Now I really like Bones, so I often watch it live, or slightly delayed, skipping most of the commercials in the first half.  But I wouldn’t be watching it at all if it wasn’t for Netflix and iTunes rentals.  Though Bones premiered in 2005, I didn’t start watching it until the summer of 2010.  At the time Netflix had seasons 1-4 available for streaming and I watched them all from the beginning.  But I faced a dilemma.  Season 6 began before Season 5 became available on DVD (and Netflix streaming).  I didn’t want to start watching Season 6 until I finished watching Season 5.  Some episodes were available for online streaming through Hulu.com but not all of them.  Then Apple introduced TV show rentals for only $0.99.  I was able to get caught up, and now watch every episode.

Finally I want to talk about manufacturers.  Most manufactures only make a limited selection of products.  Take milk for example, it’s sold in quart, half gallon, and gallon sizes.  Adding different sizes, or custom sizes would not significantly improve sales.  I doubt there’s much demand for 3/4 gallon, 2 gallon, or 100 ounce sizes, for example.

But other types of manufactures could see a significant change to their business if they offered true customization.  Car manufacturers are the perfect example.  They currently pretend they offer choice to the consumer.  But  you can’t really get exactly what you want.  Can I get a moon roof installed on the basic model?  No, you have to get the bigger engine, and the navigation system too.  Oh, you want the 4 wheel disc brakes with 17″ aluminum wheels?  Well, that means you also have to get the premium surround sound and leather seats.

The car companies are still living in the ’70’s.  They guess what people want to buy, make a lot of them, and hope they sell.  It’s a one way, top down style of thinking.  There is no reason, other than tradition, that cars can not be built on demand.

Why not send one or two vehicles to each dealership for consumers to look at and test drive, then set them down at a computer and let them choose the options and colors they desire.  Send the order to the factory, the car is built and delivered within a week.  No excess inventory, no huge end of season sales, the consumer gets exactly what they want.

In the end the world will change.  Those companies and people that understand this will win.  Those that continue to do things the way they have always done them will cease to exist.

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Stupid politicians and the people who love them

January 21st, 2011

Ok, so after the new Governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, was officially sworn in he went to a church across the street to celebrate his inauguration and MLK day.  During a speech inside the church the new Governor said:

There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit, but if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.”

Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.

SOURCE

Really?!  I sincerely hope he was ad libbing and not reading a speech.  To say it was bad enough, but if he, or someone else wrote that down and still didn’t catch that it’s not right then something is very wrong. But then again it is Alabama.

Since saying that he has now apologized.

Now politicians say stupid things like that all the time.  Other people do as well, but politicians have reporters and cameras following them so what they say gets reported.

But what really bothers me is the reaction of people in Alabama.  Such as:

I get what he was saying. It didn’t bother me.

I see really nothing wrong with what he said. I think it was innocent, and people are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

He probably shouldn’t have said it, but it didn’t bother me.

Now I think they’re saying this for two reasons.

1. Christian Privilege

2. They haven’t really thought through the consequences.

When I say Christian Privilege I mean the tendency of Christians to believe they should be treated differently, preferentially, because they are the largest group.  The majority of people in Alabama are Christians so the Governor saying that Christians are his brothers and non-Christians are not doesn’t bother them because they are Christian.

And that kind of leads into the second point.  They don’t realize that the language the Governor used is exclusive.  It says that certain people (Christians, those who share the belief) are good, and other people (non-Christians, those who do not share the belief) are not.  Which is really one of the basic tenets of almost every single religion of the world.  Replace Christian with something else and you’ll see exactly how divisive his words were.

There may be some people here today who are not WHITE, but if you are, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.

Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters.  So anybody here today who is not WHITE, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister.

Or how about:

There may be some people here today who are not REPUBLICAN, but if you are, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.

Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters.  So anybody here today who is not REPUBLICAN, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister.

Or even:

There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit, but if you have been adopted in ALLAH’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a MUSLIM and, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.”

Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who is not MUSLIM, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.

Do  you see now how wrong his language is?

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My New Year’s Resolutions 2011

December 28th, 2010

Last year..this year…2010, I didn’t have any resolutions.  In 2009 I did, and that was to do at least one photo shoot a month.  See what happened in previous years, and in 2010 as well, is that I would go months without having any photography, then do 3 or 4 in a week or two.  So in 2009 I made the resolution, and actually did it, I had at least one shoot every month.  This year I’m going to do a few resolutions and see how it goes.

1.  Do six to twelve shoots for University Nudes.  This was kind of a resolution last year, but more of a hope or an idea.  I put up a few ads, set up one meeting but never actually photographed anyone.

2.  Set up a cleaning schedule.  20 minutes a day, repeats every 30 days.  It’s not like my place is dirty, I clean now, but it’s a little unorganized, and it could be cleaner.  And I really like lists and schedules.

3.  Stop using deity based words and phrases to express surprise, anger and frustration.

4.  Do 100 sit ups, 100 push ups, and run for 30 minutes every other day.  I was doing pretty good with running for about two months.  Then I kinda stopped. 🙁

5.  Use Things more.  Things is a to do list program for my Mac and iPhone.  It works very well, I just have to remember to use it.

6.  Share my thoughts more.  I haven’t posted to this blog as much as I would like.  Part of that is time.  Actual time that it will take me, and often thinking it will take longer than it does.  I’m also somewhat of a perfectionist, and one of the things that perfectionists often do is not do anything if they can’t do it perfect.  And the third reason is not wanting to upset people.  Often with the issues I feel passionate about I’m not of the majority or socially acceptable side of the issue.  For a while now I’ve lived my life by the phrase “What other people think of me is none of my business.”  Internally I feel that way, but externally I haven’t always behaved that way.

7.  Find a wife.  I’m getting older, I need to get married.  There’ll be some rather large posts on this coming.

There’s other things I want to do but none that I want to set up as a resolution.  Like I have an idea for a new series of  photos (not to the level of University Nudes), but I’ll probably just put that in another post in a few days.

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I need new words to use for surprise, anger and frustration

December 27th, 2010

I need new words and phrases to express surprise, anger, and frustration.  So basically new swear words.  I know that words are just words, and they only mean what we say they mean, but there are certain words I’d rather not use anymore because they don’t reflect who I am.

Really the only reason I use them now is because those were the words that were used when I was learning the language.  They’re words that are common in this area of the country, and people I know.  So here are the words I don’t wish to say any longer, and some common derivatives.

profanityGod (god damn, god damn it)

Damn (god damn, god damn it, damn it)

Jesus Christ (Jesus, Jeeze, Jeebus)

Holy (holy shit, holy hell, holy crap)

Hell (holy hell)

As you may have noticed they’re generally deity based religious words.  Now, I am no friend of religion so please don’t confuse my desire to not say these words with any particular respect for your customs or ancient beliefs.  I don’t want to say them because I don’t want to be associated with them, similar to the way the colonists disassociated from the monarchy.

Part of the problem with not saying these words is that some of them are more socially acceptable where a stronger swear word would not be.

For example, if I were in a group of mixed age people and stubbed my toe I could say “Damn it” and generally get away with it, whereas saying “Fuck” would be considered a poor choice of words.

I’m pretty sure that once I have new words I can replace the old words I use.  I’ve kind of done that with “frak” which is really just a polite way to say “fuck”.  I still say “fuck”, but it’s about 50/50 split with “frak”.

So what I would like from you is some ideas for new words.  It could be something you say, or have heard.  Quite a few of you are from different areas of the country so perhaps it’s something common in your area but I’ve never been exposed to.  Leave a comment with your suggestions.

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Why this is wrong.

December 20th, 2010

Author of pedophilia guide to face charges in Florida

There are so many things wrong with this situation.

1.  Obviously there is not enough crime in Polk County (or even the state of Florida) if Sheriff Judd has to go half way across the country to arrest and charge this man.

2.  It is entirely possible, and quite likely, that the only copy of this book in Polk County is the one purchased by the Sheriff.  Meaning that no one in his jurisdiction could possibly have been “harmed” by this book.  If you even buy the premise that it’s harmful.

3.  IT’S A FUCKING BOOK! It’s words printed on paper.  It can’t hurt you.  It is merely a physical manifestation of an idea.  Ideas are not illegal.  Thought is not illegal.

4.  If you don’t like it, don’t read it.  Don’t buy it.  You can tell your family, your friends, random people on the street that you feel it is wrong.  That’s your right.

5.  The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …

This is the very essence of why we have the First Amendment.  To protect unpopular speech.  It doesn’t matter if that speech is pedophilia, or swearing (Catcher in the Rye), or sexuality (Twilight), or racism (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), or sorcery (Harry Potter), or violence (Grand Theft Auto).

So basically here’s what’s going to happen.  Sheriff Judd gets to look tough on pedophiles and crime in general.  He’ll get lots of money and be reelected.  Mr. Greaves will probably end up sitting in jail for five to ten years while the his case moves through the court system.  The people of Polk County and the State of Florida will spend millions of dollars defending the appeals all the way to the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court will rightly rule in favor of Mr. Greaves.  Mr. Greaves will then be released having lost almost a decade of his life.  Mr. Greaves will not be able to recover damages from Sheriff Judd, because Sheriff Judd has qualified immunity.

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Song list for the Ultimate Wedding Ceremony

December 9th, 2010

Wedding ceremonies today are much more theatrical than they’ve ever been before. Couples aren’t interested in doing what everyone else has done. And they certainly don’t want to listen to some old guy they barely know drone on about things that don’t matter to them.

A wedding is a performance. For many weddings the ceremony is the dull part, with all of the guests sitting through it patiently for the reception. Do not let your wedding be like that. Sing, Dance, Perform. Make your once in a lifetime event something no one will ever forget.

As of this writing I don’t even have a girlfriend, but if I were to have a wedding today these would be the songs in their order of performance.

Intro:
I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas

Brides song:
All I Ever Wanted To Be from Being Erica

Grooms song:
Haven’t Met You Yet by Michael Buble

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AJmKkU5POA (embedding disabled)

Something There from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Vows:
I’ll Cover You from RENT

Finale:
Everyday from High School Musical 2

Surprise song:
The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra

First Dance:

Can I Have This Dance from High School Musical 3

Bonus proposal songs:

These two songs would be absolutely perfect for a proposal.

1, 2, 3, 4 by Plain White T’s

Marry You by Glee Cast

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Advertising’s Image of Women

September 20th, 2010

My friend Kelly posted the video above today on her Facebook page. I started to write a comment on Facebook, but it got longer, and longer…..and longer. So I decided to write a blog on it instead.

There’s always been pressure on women to look a certain way, the Victorian era had extreme corsets, ancient Romans used makeup, the Chinese bound the feet, the Kayan Lahwi place brass rings around their necks.  To imply that advertising is the cause of how women feel about themselves today is disingenuous.  All of the above examples and many more were done decades and centuries before modern advertising.  Before TV, magazines, before books, and I’m sure there were ways that women changed how they look before we even had writing.

Second, where are women in this?  Is the speaker saying that women are so easily manipulated that a mere image destroys their self worth?  That women and girls don’t know and can’t be taught that what they see in advertisements is not real?  If the problems stemming from advertising are so inescapable why aren’t they more prevalent?

Third, “The person is dehumanized and violence becomes inevitable.”  Um, no.  While making a person an object may be the first step in violence against that person, I strongly disagree that it is inevitable.  To agree with that statement you would have to believe that humans are violent against all objects.  That because I think of a tree as an object I have to fight my natural urges to violently attack it?

You know what I think is causing all the self esteem problems in this country?  It’s the dichotomy between what we show and what we do.  We surround people with sex but then we tell them not to do it.  That a women’s body should be looked at, but not touched, even by her own hand.  If the only way you’re allowed to be sexual is through what you look like and what you wear, of course you’re going to take it to extremes.

We need to teach women (and girls, and boys, and men) that sex and masturbation are not bad things.  That feeling good is not something to be ashamed of.  That loving yourself physically is loving yourself mentally.

I think this last part relates to two recent posts by Katie West.

Women are sexualized and objectified to appeal to others.

and

Women who report masturbating score higher on a self-esteem index than women who do not report masturbating.

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