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Posts Tagged ‘Christine ODonnell

Christine O’Donnell: Jezebel Website Wants to Do a ‘Santorum’ on Her Name

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Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell definitely evokes intense emotions in people.

But the reactions to this political rookie range widely. On the one hand, there’s Newt Gingrich sending words of encouragement to the Tea Party favorite. On the other, there’s the feminist website Jezebel wanting to transform her name into something icky.

Gingrich recently wrote to O’Donnell, thanking her for “taking your beliefs, values and aspirations into the public square.” He added that he was pleased O’Donnell shares his commitment “to transforming government at every level to save America.”

On Monday, the candidate returned the compliment, calling Gingrich “one of America’s great thinkers and a tremendous patriot.”

Jezebel, of course, has no interest in a lovefest. In fact, the site is attempting to “redefine” the candidate and put her in a vastly different context. Jezebel’s editors have modeled their mission after Dan Savage’s Internet campaign a few years ago, when he sought to redefine then-Sen. Rick Santorum. Savage, a sex columnist, who more recently launched a viral video campaign to assure sexually harassed teenagers that “it gets better, ” previously set his sights on the Republican from Pennsylvania after the senator compared homosexuality to bestiality and incest. Savage coined a term — Santorum — to convey something that is (putting it politely) extremely disgusting and foul.
Christine O'Donnell, JezebelJezebel wants to redefine “O’Donnell” in the same vein. Is the name a sex act, substance, body part, device or feeling? That’s to be determined. “We have the Republican candidate from Delaware who is just as reprehensible, and who necessitates a Santorum-level response,” the site said. “O’Donnell is not conservative — she is a cretin.”
Some of O’Donnell’s stances are cited, such as her takes on homosexuality (a “deviant sexual orientation” and symptomatic of an “identity disorder”), China (“There is a very carefully thought-out and strategic plan to take over America. I think the Chinese government is definitely a foe”) and women in the military (“By integrating women into particularly military institutes, it cripples the readiness of our defense”).
The editors believe that while O’Donnell, who supports abstinence only outside of marriage will lose her Senate bid against Democrat Chris Coons, she will not go away because “her Tea Party funding and endorsements from the NRA and Sarah Palin all but guarantee that Christine O’Donnell will have further opportunities to pollute the national discourse with her counter-factual, empty-headed nonsense — and perhaps to make further runs for office.”
The contest’s rules? The phenomenon or thing that is called “odonnell” must not already have a name. Jezebel adds that the definition should also be as sex-negative as the candidate herself: “An odonnell is decidedly not ‘that feeling of delightful, tingling numbness you get in your extremities immediately following a very satisfying sexual climax.’ “

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Amen, Sister: Joycelyn Elders’ Call for More Sexual Frankness

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One lesson I’ve learned: When people feel repressed — when they feel sex is shameful — an underworld of sexual activity bubbles below the surface of society.

I discovered that reality when I wrote “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt” a few years ago. The South has always been a region of moral conservatism and Bible thumping, with churches on every corner to remind people of their shame and sin.

I was reminded of that truth when I read a recent sex survey of 5,865 men and women aged 14 to 94 that has gotten a lot of press attention. The survey, the largest nationally representative study of sexual and sexual-health behaviors ever fielded, focuses on condom use, masturbation, oral sex, anal sex and just plain old vanilla sex.

On the survey’s surface, it would appear that the United States is getting busier and bolder in the bedroom. But in the same newly published journal where the survey was featured, there was also an article by former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. She makes the point that we are still not talking about sex in a frank, healthy manner, which in my experience brews that underworld of sexual activity mentioned at the start of this piece.

Many best remember Elders for how she lost her job: she was fired by President Clinton in 1994 for voicing her politically explosive opinion that masturbation should be taught to children.

“Hiding from sexuality is not realistic when we know that humans are inherently sexual beings,” Elders more recently wrote. “A sexually healthy society must be our new goal for the 21st century.”

Amen, sister.

Elders is absolutely right when she says this country has a long way to go before it becomes honest about sexual topics, especially where politicians and politics are concerned.

Just in the past few years, politicians have emerged with stories of sex and betrayal more tangled than soap opera plots. There was John Edward’s double-life revelation with a secret baby and sex video, and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s Argentina soul mate. In Louisiana, Senator David Vitter, who is running for re-election, got caught up in a prostitution scandal. So did New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer, who reinvented himself as a CNN show host.

But true to form, politicians seldom address sex except to apologize for it. They just brush it under the carpet or twist it for political gain in a campaign to shame the other side.

Most recent case in point: Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul’s flashing back to the 1990s and lobbing a reminder to everyone about Bill Clinton’s dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.

“I’m not sure I would trust a guy who had had sexual relations with an intern,” Paul said on Monday after Clinton made a campaign appearance in Kentucky for Paul’s opponent. “I mean, do you think he’s an honorable person?” Oops, Rand Paul, your age may be showing. The Lewinsky scandal happened when today’s new voter was in first grade.

The recent sex survey indicates oral sex is no longer the taboo that it was in 1998 when the Lewinsky scandal brought the topic into America’s living rooms. Perhaps Bill Clinton is to blame — or thank, depending on your mindset — for the increase in oral sex, especially among teens.

According to the survey, teenagers of both sexes are indulging in oral sex at young ages — among 14- and 15-year-olds, 9 percent of boys said they’ve engaged in oral sex. That number more than doubles to 20 percent among 16- to 17-year-olds. The numbers are higher among girls. Thirteen percent of girls age 14 to 15 have performed oral sex, as have 29 percent of girls 16 to 17. Sixty-one percent are oral sex veterans by the time boys and girls graduate high school and enter college.

Another long-time taboo that’s clashing with reality is homosexuality in the military and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In the national survey, 7 percent of women and 8 percent of men identified themselves as non-heterosexual. Five percent of women identified as lesbian or bisexual and nearly 7 percent of men identified as gay or bisexual. Still, the issue of gays in the military remains controversial.

But we’re making progress in some areas. For example, Elders says masturbation is something we’ve started talking about. Elders writes, “We have finally included masturbation in our national conversation and as a result stopped checking our hands for growing hair.” ( Back when Elders was fired, masturbation was a big no-no, as Christine O’Donnell preached on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” television show.)

That controversial act that tainted Elders’ career seems so tame now. Yes, teenagers still do it. Researchers found that masturbation is still the prevalent sexual behavior of teens. And they don’t outgrow it, most adults – male and female – masturbate regularly.

Elders’ drama created such a notorious ruckus back in the good old 1990s. It seems almost quaint now that politicians use such descriptive words as “whore” and “slut” about their opponents and to describe their own pasts. These days, some bold congressional candidates – Krystal Ball is the best known – opt to face their racy pasts with directness instead of denial.
But Krystal Ball is the exception in a world where politicians are — and may always be — behind the curve when it comes to evolving standards of sexual morality.

Both Democrats and Republicans will continue to thump the tub for a return to the good old days of fidelity and modesty. But they live in a country – as the sex survey proves – where people across all age groups have sex before marriage, engage in sexual acts other than intercourse which many enjoy for pleasure and not just procreation

Until we are honest enough to embrace that reality, we’ll continue to behave like so many do in the South, where I live — seemingly pure on the surface, oh-so tawdry on underneath.

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Barbie, Journalism’s New Ambassador (and Badly Needed Savior?)

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Journalism has needed a global ambassador. Now it has one — Barbie.
Yes, Barbie has transformed into a news anchor. For the first time in the doll’s 51-year history, Mattel asked consumers to pick Barbie’s new adventure from five careers – architect, computer engineer, environmentalist, news anchor and surgeon. Forget Barbie designing her own dream home or saving the planet. No, Barbie needs to be in the middle of the action, and journalism certainly provides that some days.
In her new incarnation, the doll — looking like she just returned from Malibu — wears a pink suit with black and silver accents and black pumps with pink bows. Her long, blond hair is cut bluntly with bangs highlighting blue eyes with pink eye shadow. Her accessories include a microphone, a news camera and news folder — pink, of course — with a “B” on it. (Hint to Mattel: A notepad might have been a better prop. The folder makes her look like a secretary.) She does look a tad like the “bubble-headed bleach blonde” that The Eagles’ Don Henley sung about in 1982’s “Dirty Laundry.” Still, she has a mission.
News Anchor Barbie“Barbie as a news anchor can help inspire future female journalists with interactive role play that can help foster skills like storytelling, verbal/written communication, and creativity that comes with being a journalist,” according to a release from Mattel.
Journalism certainly can welcome an ally these days as newspapers and magazines struggle to stay afloat, and Sarah Palin turning red-state America against the “lamestream” media.
This isn’t Barbie’s first endeavor as a reporter. In 1960, just two years after the statuesque doll hit the toy scene, she could be dressed as a fashion editor. In 1985, Television News Reporter Barbie hit the shelves. That same year, she worked as a business executive, dress designer, veterinarian and a teacher. Busy girl. Last year, she took a page from “The Devil Wears Prada” and worked as a fashion magazine intern. (Who has time for Ken?)
Because Barbie is cute with fashionable looks, she could easily land interviews with Sarah Palin, who herself was a television sports reporter, and Christine O’Donnell, who could double as Gidget (as my Woman Up colleague Donna Trussell wrote) or even Barbie’s modern cousin, Francie.
But I like to imagine News Anchor Barbie pushing the journalism envelope more than settling for sit-downs with Palin and O’Donnell. Mattel should create an entire line of news anchor outfits. Any good reporter worth her byline should have camouflage in her closet (in case, she’s called to Afghanistan in the middle of the night), a pair of comfortable, chic black boots, a nice black pantsuit to blend in at news conferences and a passport. Think Christiane Amanpour.
But other questions arise: Would Barbie be more at home beside Fox News’ Sean Hannity or MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann? She could play the middle ground and find a home on CNN. Perhaps Barbie, having been born in 1959 at the height of the television revolution, would be old school and kick it on one of the three original networks, as Amanpour does these days.
Barbie has certainly evolved since her inception as a teen fashion model showing her curves in a black-and-white swimsuit. Unfortunately, she still gets a bum rap for her “perfect” figure and for once saying that math was hard. But what public figure hasn’t uttered something they regret saying? At least she hasn’t admitted to dabbling in witchcraft.
For all the shallowness, Barbie broke career barriers before women in the United States did. She was an astronaut in 1963, long before women busted the all-male space club. Ten years later, she was a surgeon — a ground-breaking career in the 1970s for women. In fact, the Association of Women Surgeons wasn’t even founded until 1981.
In 1992, Barbie ran for president while Hillary Clinton bucked the old-fashioned first lady stereotype. Politics called her again in 2000 and 2004, when she made runs for the White House.
As much as journalism needs Barbie, she should push the envelope. Maybe 2012 is the year she will forego news reporting to finally sit behind the desk in the Oval Office and become President Barbie.

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:48 pm