Quick Thoughts on Pop Culture from Your Grumpy Neighborhood Feminist

Lynsey G | October 23, 2014 | 4:29 pm

A few big pop culture items have crossed my radar this week, which is remarkable given that I’ve been sick and grumpy and menstruating and it’s cold and rainy outside. Frankly, I think it’s marvelous that I’ve managed to do anything aside from eat Doritos in sweatpants and watch Supernatural, marathon style, on Netflix.

Some of these things gave me thinks. I thought you might be interested in them–the things or my thinks, or maybe both.

Me with a bad case of The Thinks.

Me with a bad case of The Thinks.

A) Renee Zellweger’s face. I’ve seen a lot of discussion about her so-called transformation in the facial area on news websites, TV, and feminist circles, and it kind of weirds me out. continue →

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Monday Linktopia

Lynsey G | October 20, 2014 | 7:10 pm

I woke up sick today, for no apparent reason. Not like “I have a cold” sick, either. Like, “I am so exhausted mentally and emotionally that I am breaking down physically” sick. So I am watching Netflix and collecting links to share with you instead of writing a blog post. Deal with it.


1) Tomorrow, October 21, is the fourth annual International Fisting Day! continue →

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New York Comic Con: Post 2 — Boobs are OK, but not BOOBS

Lynsey G | October 16, 2014 | 6:44 pm

I’ve been having some more thinks about New York Comic Con 2014. As I mentioned in my last post on the topic, it was a somewhat trying experience for me. Aside from the fact that I am extremely uncomfortable in situations where I am crowded very close to, and must navigate my way through, throngs of strangers (I know, I know, New York City might not be the best place for me), I was trying to pitch my graphic novel, Tracy Queen, to publishers. It was… discouraging.

Here’s the deal: the graphic novel is mostly written (some of the last few bits are only outlined at this point), and eight pages of original, penciled, inked, and colored art with lettering have been created by the incredible illustrator, Jayel Draco. We have a professional comic creator and writer on board to do the lettering throughout. We have several adult industry professionals who have signed on to make cameo appearances. We have the love and support of our friends and colleagues. We want to make this thing happen.

You’ll see why this image is pertinent shortly.

But right now the book is slated at 288 pages, of incredibly labor-intensive, time-consuming art. Jayel cannot just make these happen magically–he has to spend a lot of time and energy on each image to get it looking perfect. We need to be able to fund his ability to make this happen, and doing it “at night after work” sounds all well and good until you factor in, you know, life. And realize that if we were to try to weekend-warrior this thing, it would likely take years to complete. Like well over half a decade. In that time we’d be able to create very little else as a team. And that… is just… not acceptable.

So what we’re trying to do is find a publisher of comics or graphic novels that would be willing to help us out, either by providing some capital up-front or by supporting us in crowdfunding, or something similar, so that we can pay for this to happen.

So, we went to Comic Con with professionally-printed, full-color samples, brimming with gorgeous artwork, a plot synopsis, character bios, creator bios, contact info… All that stuff. It looks professional. It looks lush. It’s awesome. We are also a pretty rad duo–we wore Tracy Queen logo shirts and presented ourselves at numerous publisher booths, where we schmoozed and handed samples to editors and publishers, over the merchandise they had displayed on tables and racks and the like.

Let me tell you what around 60% (the part of it that wasn’t male superheroes, zombies, or super-cute Japanese stuffed animals) of that merchandise looked like: boobs. Spandex-stretching, cleavage-spilling, bursting-free-from-button-downs, burgeoning, corseted, sometimes-just-covered-with-a-bandage-like-strip-of-cloth… boobs. Everywhere, boobs.

Ahem.

And camel-toe. Camel-toe is big in the comics world. It’s not only accepted but encouraged. A little bit of an outline, here and there, of the lips. Totally cool. All over the place at Comic Con.

Female sexuality, females as sex objects. Everywhere. Being used to sell everything from supervillain comic books to statuettes to T shirts.

Seems like a comic book about a super-sexy porn star would fit right in there, right? Like Tracy Queen would be every comics publisher’s wet dream, correct?

Nope.

OK, maybe THIS is their wet dream.

Because even with all those boobs everywhere, in all the imagery, none of them were uncovered entirely. You couldn’t actually see nipples, aside from a bit of an outline here and there through the fabric. Or sometimes there would be a topless woman shown from the side or behind, so you’d get some sideboob action. But never nipples. Dear god, not the nipples. (What is it about nipples that is so terrifying, exactly?)

And all those snug-fitting jumpsuits that oh-so-clearly cup the vulva and the butt? They’re still on there. Hiding stuff.

Because these hypersexualized female comics characters covering every surface at Comic Con? They don’t actually have the sex. They are too pure for that, or something. Or, somehow, these comic books in which they appear are too pure to deal with overt sexuality, while they parade around supernaturally perky sets of HH cups trying to escape their bonds just as valiantly as the heroes try to stop the villains. These women are allowed to look sexy, to provide eye candy for the totally-not-perverted readers, but they aren’t allowed to act sexy, or they’d taint the not-perverts with their filthy womansex.

And because, as long as those boobs and vulvas aren’t showing, you can totally bring your kids to Comic Con and they will totally not get the impression that women are just sex objects, or–gasp!–see any images of overt sexuality. Or anything.

Nothing sexual happening HERE.

Or something.

So anyway, I knew I was up against this. I realize that the comics industry is one of the most bizarrely attached to the virgin/whore dichotomy of all the industries. That it’s long been a boys’ club that encourages women to dress up in sexy costumes but not get “in the way” of the men doing their man stuff, like saving the world from unspeakable evil and, you know, getting blood on things. I knew that being a female writer, presenting publishers with a strong female lead–of color–who chooses to take off her clothes because she likes to… and gets paid for it… would be an uphill battle.

But. Man. Wow.

Totally normal garb for not-overtly-sexual female.

I can’t tell you how many uncomfortable smiles I got. And wide eyes, and puffed-out cheeks and “Hoo, boy” asides. How badly it stung to get the “Ok, I’ll take your sample, now get the hell out of my booth you perverted freak” treatment. How exhausting it was to watch a publisher smile warmly when handed the sample, flip through it for a few pages, notice the nudity halfway through, and clench up, grimace, and look up at me like I’d tricked him (and I say “him” because they were all men–most of whom were surrounded by images of mostly-naked, busty women on their comics covers and original artwork and so on). How strange and disheartening it was to realize that images of nipples–uncovered nipples–was not just unwelcome, but terrifying to them. How fucking infuriating it is to walk around the show floor, looking at image after image–and costume after costume–showcasing female sexuality… and be treated like a leper for wanting to show it, in an empowering, enlightened way, in a mainstream, not-erotic-specific publication.

See, that’s the thing about Tracy Queen: the book is about an independent porn star who makes her living by having sex on camera. But it’s not about porn. And it’s not porn. There’s nudity, and there’s imagery of sex happening, because that’s part of the story. much like sex is part of life. But the point of the graphic novel is not to titillate–it’s to tell Tracy’s story. The sexy parts and the scary, bloody parts, and the mundane parts, too. It’s got sex, but it’s got a lot more.

And nobody wants to touch it, because sex is all that people see when you’re brave enough to talk about it without the spandex. Blatant depictions of sex and nudity in comics (and everywhere) is a no-no, unless you’re willing to hide out in the “erotica” corner of the internet. The corner that doesn’t even get a booth at Comic Con. Because Comic Con is family friendly, spandex-seam-splitting-boobs-everywhere notwithstanding. Somehow.

What is it that makes the display of the female body for consumption permissible, so long as nipples and pubic hair are not specifically shown? Why is it that women’s bodies can be sexual, so long as they’re never shown actually having sex? Why can’t we own our bodies and do what we want to with them, instead of having some artist or publisher or consumer tell us what’s ok?

I’ll tell you one thing: whether any of these publishers wake up and smell what Tracy Queen is cooking or not, she’s going to get out there to the world. She is going to be a strong female lead who likes sex and uses her body the way she wants to and also raises an army of cyborg-clone warriors to defeat the forces of evil.

It’s going to happen.

News soon.

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Interview with Regina Stargazer at Luna Luna Magazine!

Lynsey G | October 14, 2014 | 12:30 pm

A while back, I heard from a burlesque performer in the NYC area, a certain Regina Stargazer. She wanted to know if I’d be interested in interviewing her for my ongoing series of burlesque performer interviews at Luna Luna.

I’ll be honest. I don’t normally respond to requests for interviews like that. I’m not sure why, exactly. continue →

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I Went to New York Comic Con, and All I Got Were These Observations

Lynsey G | October 13, 2014 | 5:49 pm

This past weekend I attended New York Comic Con. I was there to conduct interviews (to come in a week or so from Luna Luna) and do general press stuff (in order to justify my *free* press passes), and to promote/beg people to help me publish my graphic novel, Tracy Queen. (Click the link! CLICK THE LINK!)

It was exciting and exhausting and uplifting and horrifying all at once. Here are some quick and dirty observations! continue →

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Question for readers: blog posts or podcast?

Lynsey G | October 8, 2014 | 3:30 pm

I need help, readers!

I’ve been planning to start up a new interview series for the blog. A monthly thing called “Dispatches from a Dark Corner,” in which I’d interview all sorts of people in the sex work/porn/feminism walks of life about the projects they’re working on, and provide some editorial and background commentary. (Like interviewing the founders of a new hardcore kink adult company in NYC, talking to a certain performer about being male and bisexual in the mainstream porn biz, speaking with the organizer of a live storytelling event for sex workers, and so on. I might also like to do some reviews and interviews together–review a film, then talk to the director. That kind of thing.) I’ve been pitching this as a column to a few places but so far no bites, so I want to go ahead and do it here.

However, it’s occurred to me that this might be really good recorded as a podcast instead of my usual transcribed interview format.

And now I’m stuck. How to proceed?

Help a blogger/podcaster out! Should I go with blog post interviews, or podcasts? Let me know what you think!

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In case you were wondering…

Lynsey G | October 7, 2014 | 5:41 pm

…what I look like as a greaser drag king, here’s a picture!

Photo by Jayel Draco.

Photo by Jayel Draco.

Or if you were wondering how my new faux leather bomber jacket looks, or what the corner of the living room in my new apartment appears with bookshelf and ivy…

Anyway, Hopefully more drag photos to come from the event at the Silent Barn last weekend! I’m busy with a proofreading job AND prepping for NYC Comic Con this week, so please forgive the sparseness of posts, peeps!

I’ll be back soon!

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A Marathon Drag King Reading of “The Outsiders”

Lynsey G | October 3, 2014 | 4:15 pm

OutsidersThis Sunday, October 5, I’ll be toying with that obnoxious old gender binary, modeling myself as a greaser David Bowie-ish type, and reading Chapter 7 of The Outsiders as part of Title:Point’s marathon drag king reading of S. E. Hinton’s oft-banned classic! continue →

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Anybody else watching Transparent?

Lynsey G | October 2, 2014 | 5:28 pm

So I signed up for a free thirty-day trial of Amazon Prime so I could get some stuff shipped for free during my move, and planned to cancel it before I got charged. Like you do. continue →

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Feeling Defeated

Lynsey G | October 1, 2014 | 8:25 pm

I was going to take a cue from the bravery of this woman (with whom I am honored to share the title “Staff Writer” for Luna Luna magazine, by the way) and attempt a brave and soul-searching admission of my compulsive porn habits. It would feel cleansing, I thought.

And then I read that 50% of the world’s wildlife has disappeared in the past forty-four years.

And now I can’t write anything.

I’m going to go home and sit in my new apartment with the lights off.

Please read Erica Garza’s article. And then go sit at home and think about stuff, too.

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Video from the Luna Luna SUMMER DEATH Poetry Reading!

Lynsey G | September 29, 2014 | 8:57 pm

Most of you, I’m assuming, were not able to make it to the SUMMER DEATH poetry reading featuring six Luna Luna writers/editors/contributors last Thursday. Luckily, there is some video of the so-gorgeous-it-hurts poetry of Alyssa Morhardt-Goldstein, the vivacious lines of Lisa Marie Basile, and other (I don’t know what descriptors best suit my poetry) poems from me! Enjoy!

Hope you like it! I read three poems from my collection about Audrey Munson, which still does not have a name, and for which I will be seeking publication in the next few months. I got a very good response from the listeners, and feel blessed to have the opportunity.

Thank you so much to Mellow Pages Library, to everyone at Luna Luna, and to everyone who showed up!

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