Best of the Week
of March 11, 2001

Best of Week Archives

Here are the most intriguing cross-cultural exchanges either begun or advanced during the week of March 11, 2001, as selected by Y? These postings, as well as "Best of the Week" entries from previous weeks, also can be found by accessing Y?'s new database using the search form, or, in the case of answers posted before April 24, 1999, in the Original Archives (all questions from the Original Archives have been entered into the new database as well). In the Original Archives and the new database, you will find questions that have received answers, as well as questions still awaiting responses. You are encouraged to answer any questions relevant to your demographic background, as well as to ask any provocative question you desire. Answers posted are not necessarily meant to represent the views of an entire demographic group, but can provide a window into the insights of an individual from that group.

First-time users should first make a quick stop at Y?'s guidelines pages for asking and answering questions.

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Question:

I was talking to a male friend about whether women really fantasize about being raped. It's supposed to be one of the most popular fantasies, but I have my doubts. I think women fantasize about being seduced and it gets lumped into this category. My friend says he's actually been with a couple women who wanted to be 'rag dolls' - slapped, talked to nasty, etc., and that it made him uncomfortable. Now I'm wondering if he was just sending weird vibes or if many woman are into this. I'd also like to know if anyone has had sex that ended up with the woman having bruises on her thighs. You always see this defense in rape trials, but all the woman I've talked to about it don't buy it. What do the rest of you think?

POSTED 3/12/2001

Li, Brownsburg, IN, United States, Female, Mesg ID 38200192829

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Question:

I am working on a series of paintings that involve the use of negative stereotypes of all ethnicities. Being white, I am having a hard time finding many derogatory slurs for white people. For instance, I had never heard that whites smell like wet dogs when they come out of the rain until I found this site today. I have heard some mild ones, but I am in need of more intense imagery. My plan is to use the stereotypes for tearing down racial barriers. My art is currently using satirical humor to aid the message's staying power with the viewer. Please help!

POSTED 3/12/2001

C. Kohrman, Reading, PA, United States, 23, Male, Mormon, White/Caucasian, Straight, fine artist/illustrator, 2 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 392001100915

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Question:

Why is it that homosexuality and bisexuality are considered sexual orientations, with some legal protection even afforded for those identifying with these lifesyles, while other alternative sexual practices are not classified in this way? For example, is bestiality a sexual orientation? How about S&M or pedophilia? All of these supposedly are natural drives within the person who practices them (including homosexuality) bringing sexual satisfaction to the participant(s). However, coming out as an S&M participant would draw disapproval from many people in society, announcing you are a practicing animal sex participant would probably bring disgust, and stating pedophilic tendencies will land you on a sex offender list. So the bottom line is, why is homosexuality considered a sexual orientation, while none of the other ones are? By the way, I do not necessarily support any of the mentioned practices here, I'm just curious about the perceived disparity.

POSTED 3/7/2001

Rich, Washington, DC, United States, 23, Male, Mesg ID 37200181438


Responses:
Many people do accept S&M as a lifestyle. Basically, what goes on between consenting adults is nobody's business. Animals and children cannot be considered 'consenting,' nor are they adults. They are victims. That's the difference.

POSTED 3/12/2001

Rick, Springfield, OH, United States, Male, Atheist, White/Caucasian, Straight, Over 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 38200130814


Pediophilia and S&M are fetishes, not sexual orientations.

POSTED 3/12/2001

Natalie, New York, NY, United States, Female, Catholic, White/Caucasian, Lesbian, High School Diploma , Mesg ID 38200155237


I'll give you the benefit of my experience, coming from a background of having been a censor of Internet pornography. Homosexuality, bestiality and pedophilia are sexual orientations. S&M is usually considered to be more of a sexual practice or fetish - the attraction here is toward the enacting of particular scenarios, roles and the use of various pieces of equipment, whips, etc. The gender of the partner may or may not be an issue, though it usually is. The human being is such a diverse animal that the word 'natural' doesn't seem appropriate - any or all of these orientations/practices could be 'natural.' There is one fairly clear distinction, though: Homosexuality and S&M may arouse some feelings of disgust in some people, but these are orientations where the sexual activity involves partners who consent freely, and are not normally harmful. Therefore, these orientations are afforded some degree of protection. In the case of bestiality, apart from the revulsion many people feel, the reasoning is that the animal cannot freely consent to the activity. Similarly with pedophilia, the child cannot consent freely. It's a question of power relations and knowledge. It's assumed that the child, when involved with a more powerful and intelligent adult, is at much greater risk of having his or her wishes overruled, and of not understanding the full ramifications of his or her decision.

POSTED 3/12/2001

Ben S., Hobart, NA, Australia, <bscaro@hotmail.com>, 32, Male, Rosicrucian, White/Caucasian, Gay, Traveler, 4 Years of College , Lower middle class, Mesg ID 311200170031


Your question indicates a failure to differentiate between one's sexual orientation and one's sexual behavior. Sexual orientation is a morally neutral indication of whether one is inclined toward romantic relationships with members of the opposite sex (heterosexual), same sex (homosexual) or either sex (bisexual). It does not indicate whether sexual activity has taken place or will take place; it merely indicates how your brain is wired to respond sexually to males or females. On the other hand, the sexual behaviors you have identified (namely sadomasochism and pedophilia) involve specific sexual activities that take place regardless or one's sexual orientation. I would also like to point out that there is a big ethical distinction to be made between a loving, nurturing relationship between two gay people, as opposed to the deliberate sexual victimization of children.

POSTED 3/12/2001

Chuck A., Spring Hill, WV, United States, <PolishBear@aol.com>, 41, Male, Gay, AIDS educator/radio announcer, 4 Years of College , Mesg ID 312200172612

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Question:

Do you believe the media is biased politically, racially, religously or otherwise? As the managing editor of a newspaper, I strive to be fair in all of our coverage, yet I still hear this complaint. Sometimes it's obvious that the complainer simply doesn't want his or her issue covered, period. What do you think?

POSTED 3/12/2001

Brian, Peru, IN, United States, 25, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, journalist, 4 Years of College, Middle class, Mesg ID 38200185800

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Question:

After speaking with friends who live in Chicago and Maryland, it's become obvious to me that incomes range from place to place, sometimes depending greatly on the cost of living. For instance, $40,000 a year in Chicago does not seem to be middle class, yet it is in north-central Indiana. The same home one might buy here for $60,000 would cost at least $150,000 in Chicago, and according to an article in USA Today, possibly $600,000 in some parts of California. For people across America, what do you consider lower-class, middle-class and upper-class? For example, I would define an individual making less than $25,000 to be in the lower bracket, between $30,000 and $65,000 to be middle and anything greater than $100,000 to be wealthy. There's obviously some leeway because of the age of the individual and number of dependents. I'm curious to see how that might change depending on the region.

POSTED 3/12/2001

Brian, Peru, IN, United States, 25, Male, Methodist, White/Caucasian, Straight, journalist, 4 Years of College , Middle class, Mesg ID 38200190431

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Question:

For the past few years I've faced extreme racism from Latinas. I know of many other black women who have as well. From bumping into me and hissing 'morena' (which I assume means the N-word) to approaching me with an attitude of superiority. I've even had some brag to me that they had a black boyfriend and that black men preferred them. What's up with that? I'm not a mean person and am not stuck up, either. Why do so many Latinas give off such an attitude to black women?

POSTED 3/12/2001

Alea, New York, NY, United States, 21, Female, Christian, Caribbean-American/Black, Straight, student, 2 Years of College , Mesg ID 39200140709

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Question:

I have a straight-acting male friend who I strongly suspect is gay, but he flirts with me. I am attracted to him, and he obviously knows it. When his gay friend is around, he is very careful not to flirt. Should I just ask him if he is gay?

POSTED 3/12/2001

Beth, Fort Worth, TX, United States, 40, Female, Straight, Upper middle class, Mesg ID 311200195723

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