What’s Sex Got to Do With Usher?

Usher has imparted many #1 hits unto the world. From “U Make Me Wanna” to “Confessions” to “OMG,” Usher has graced us with not only his voice, but also his softer, more emotional side. However, what happens when Usher switches gears and speaks about his relationship… with a stripper!?

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What does sex have to do with… religion?

Many people argue that religion and sex do not intertwine. Sex is often portrayed as a ‘fragile’ or ‘sacred’ topic that is seldom talked about. Religions around the world all have different views on sexual intercourse.

The most popular religion worldwide, Roman Catholicism preaches that sex is a precious virtue that should happen only after marriage. Engaging in sexual activity before marriage in considered a mortal sin. In Catholicism, mortal sins are considered the most severe type of sin, and it is recommended to go to communion before you receive the Holy Communion after committing a sin of this kind. However, in most churches, it is advised that activities like cuddling, holding hands, and sometimes kissing are thought of as okay when dealing with intimacy before marriage. Sex within marriage for Catholics is completely normal. Couples are encouraged to have sex as it is said to unite them.

Some forms of birth control are also aloud, so that couple can engage in sex without the wife having to worry about constantly having children. However abortion is viewed as murder. To Catholics, the beginning of life starts at conception, making abortion a mortal sin.

Regarding sex in Buddhism, buddhism.about.com says sex is seen as an okay act, as long as it is not abusive, and if the couple loves one another. It is not okay if sex between a married couple is abusive. Desire to have sex is described as a type of suffering, and is called tanha, which is the second noble truth.

In Judaism, sex is considered to be virtually the same type of evil as hunger or thirst. However, sex does come from an evil impulse and is told to be controlled. The only permissible sex is between a husband and wife and is called a mitzvah. This is a significant combination of both love and desire. Sexual contact outside of marriage is not allowed, as Jews believe such acts will lead to sexual intercourse.

In India, there are a group of girls who dedicate their lives to a Hindu deity and they support their families through sex work. On independent.co.uk, Sarah Harris talks about her experience traveling to and talking to the girls. Otherwise known as Temple prostitutes, the Devadasi practice was made illegal in 1988. However, this practice still continues, and ceremonies are held underground. Girls who participate in the practice are usually ashamed of what they do, and typically very poor. Some girls join the practice as early as two or three years old, and are raised in Devadasi communities, where there are no men. This way, the girls grow up not expecting to marry and have a husband, because they have never had a father figure.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GFaN9-1iz0

 

Here is a video link to a documentary about Hindu girls in the Indian city of Sangli that sell their bodies to Hindu Goddess Yellamma.

 

If you traveled to India, and saw this practice, would you try and talk to one of these girls?

How does this make you feel knowing that this happens, especially at such a young age?

Do you think this is considered okay because it is part of a religion?

Do you think that law enforcement should further push to make this illegal and not let it slide in some of the more poor, rural areas?

Do you think this should be legalized?

What’s Sex Got to do With…….. Being Bisexual and Nicki Minaj?

What does it mean to you when you hear the word bisexual? There could be many different claims to this; but when I hear the word bisexual I claim that this classification does not exist. I strongly believe that someone is straight, gay, or something else alone the lines. In other words when someone classifies themselves as bisexual I personally assume that they’re confused on what they really are. What does it really mean to be bisexual?

In Kristin Esterberg article, “The bisexual menace revisited,” she states that, “If we defined bisexuality as simply behavior sexual desire or activity with both men and women then we miss something important” (281). Basically one can not consider themselves as bisexual because they have a desire to be activity with both sexes. From experiences in high school I knew girls that would identify themselves as bisexual because one, they either wanted to experience sexual activities with men and women, or because they were treated badly by men and felt a women could treat them better….

In Nicki Minaj song “Anaconda” throughout the music video she is dancing with other women slapping their booties, but at the end of the music video she gives Drake (a masculine male a lap dance).

Is Nicki Minaj considered bisexual because of her actions in this video? According to Kristin Esterberg, Nicki Minaj would not be classified as bisexual because of her actions and desire she shows throughout her video, but in her song “Girls Fall Like Dominoes” she goes on and say, “I’ma need sixty-nine real bad girls for my tour bus, Somebody get security to escort us
They go the long way, but we take the short cuts, Give me the blonde hair, long weave, short cuts, You know the flow sick, came in on the small bus, So give the d-cup, c-cup, small bust, They judge me like the girls on trial, But every time that I come out it’s just girls gone wild, Got the domino effect in the front row passing out, With little bikini tops they got they x’s hanging out, Say my shoe game nuts, so I call ‘em cashews, Every other city theres another Nicki tattoo
Steal Wayne girls, I steal Drake girls, You know the real bitches love me fuck the fake girls
So if you pretty, I sign titties, I got the key to every mothafucking city.”

In Nicki Minaj lyrics and videos do you think that she is actually bisexual or is she doing this for her fans? Maybe she is doing and saying things like this because she actually is bi or maybe she’s putting on a show. Is being bisexual an identity? Does being bisexual exist, or is this a term one uses to hide what they really are? Lastly, if you believe that someone can be bisexual is it okay for men and women to be bi or is it just acceptable for women to be bi?

The Complex Role of the Filipino Maid

It is difficult to imagine living in a foreign world where you are basically forced to act a certain way, both sexually and emotionally, based on your occupation and stereotype.  This is exactly what Filipina maids in Lebanon must do.  These live-in maids face double standards, narrow stereotypes, and racial hierarchies that mold many of their personalities and sexualities in ways that appease Lebanese society.  Hayeon Lee addresses this unique phenomenon in her article, “The Public and Hidden Sexualities of Filipina Women in Lebanon.”

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Unconventional Means of Capital on a Domestic and Global Level

When you think of “capital” what comes to mind? Green? The O’Jay’s hit “For the Love of Money” that was the theme song for The Celebrity Apprentice? Or perhaps you think back to your glory board-game-playing days in which you dominated monopoly every time. When we think of capital we tend to think in terms of dollar bills and wealth. However, after finishing our global and transnational unit, it has become clear that wealth is not the only source of capital.

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Prostitution and the United States

I believe that prostitution should be legalized. I see benefits outweighing the problems. I personally feel that there are societal norms set in place regarding the common individual and sex acts. I feel that if it becomes legal, crime rates for other things, such as rape, might drop. To me, since sex work does happen regardless of laws set in place, making it illegal poses a more dangerous scene for many women who partake in the act. This summer I heard the devastating news of a local girl in Southern California that was about my age, and a prostitute. She had been killed by a man and left in a bag in the streets. Her mother had no idea that she was a prostitute and still denied it post death. Because of this, it show that prostitution is looked down on in society by a lot of people, and many girls are forced to make this a dangerous act when it could be made safer if it was legal. Prostitution should be a personal choice, but I don’t think that it should control one’s life. I think that there should be a limited number of years that someone should be able to work as a prostitute. In addition, there should be many standards and regulations made in brothels. Special actions should be taken in order to prevent “creepers” or dangerous people from hiring a prostitute, such as someone masturbating as they make the phone call, and background checks.

Issues in the US that rise from prostitution being passed as a law include discrimination and image that comes along with legalizing prostitution. People might also discriminate those who enforce and take part in the act of prostitution. I feel prostitution is a personal choice, and that someone can easily make a choice not to be a part of it they don’t like it. I personally do not see how it effects outsiders, and why people who are against it would choose this unless they had a bad experience from it and were personally victimized.

Prostitution can definitely be seen as immoral as a norm, and because of this, people of the US will say that the image of the nation is disrupted. Legalization might cause uproars in many religions. Considering all of the commotion caused because of anti-abortion laws, human rights regarding sex is becoming a big controversy. If the United States ever even considered passing prostitution as legal, it would take a huge effort and would receive a lot of criticism.

This past Summer, I watch the movie titled, “Whore’s Glory” on Netflix. This really opened my eyes about prostitution worldwide, and how it is in fact seen as religious in India to some people, as they are devadasi, and considered ‘prostitutes of God’. After watching this video, it made me realize how different prostitution is in every country. It also gave me a lot of empathy towards prostitutes and their stories. In the book, “Introducing the New Sexuality Studies”, there is an interview with Wendy Chapkis regarding her opinions and views on sex workers. In this article, she talks about her education regarding sex, how and why she decided to study sex work, and describes the trust she had to earn, and the situations she faced when finding out more information regarding prostitutes personal lives. Some of the questions posed were about: problems encountered, ideas about prostitution before and after her research, prostitutes seeing their work as “just work”, typical sex work, US and Netherland differences, feminist views, and prospective sex work movements in the US.
In summary, the author makes many good points. She starts the interview talking about how like many other girls, she grew up to think of sex as both pleasure and dangerous. Growing up in the 70’s, the many difficulties dealing with sex slowly diminished, yet she still wondered why women were made criminals when they charged money for sex. Interested in Dutch ways of life, she moved to Netherlands to study sex work, which is legal. In the 1990’s, Netherlands had a woman’s rights movement, as well as little poverty and individual rights. Further discussed are problems involved with her research. Prostitution in Netherlands is legal, yet still considered disgraceful and gaining trust from the women seemed to be the biggest issue in receiving accurate information about the sex worker’s lives. The author wanted to make sure she was talking to women who worked prostitution for solely work purpose. Prior to research, she made many assumptions which were all true. Yet she quoted, “Women’s lives are rarely models of complete victimization or absolute empowerment. Prostitutes are no exception.”(Chapkis 329). This demonstrates that sex workers are just like any other women. They have feelings and are often categorized as “things”, and people need to consider that they have the same priorities and rights as any other woman. The interview then continues to talk about how the prostitutes get the job done solely as work. Something I found intriguing was the quote, “But it is my sense that it is not the exchange of sex for money that is the cause of most difficulty within prostitution: instead it is the poor conditions under which that exchange takes place.” This opinion proves that with regulation, sex work can be made legal and safe, with the correct conditions. The United States can benefit from a regulated and safe system of prostitution if the conditions are safe and adequately supervised.
I leave you with these questions:
What is the reason for prostitution?
Do you feel prostitution should be legal in the United States?
Do you think that prostitution is a personal choice for most women?
Who benefits from making prostitution illegal?