Pole Dancing and Purity Balls

Interesting post by Auguste at Pandagon on the relationship between pole dancing parties and purity balls:

“Pole parties or purity balls are two sides of the same coin: Sexuality-free sex or sex-free sexuality. One of these days, the cultural coin flip will land on its edge and we’ll finally realize that sexuality is sexy. And then we’ll be in business.”


Report on recent advice to pregnant women about alcohol consumption here – the latest recommendation being not to drink at all whilst pregnant.

But: ” the National Childbirth Trust said there was not enough scientific evidence to back the move. Mary Newburn, head of policy, said: “It’s easy to say don’t drink to be on the safe side. But to be on the safe side of not crashing you shouldn’t get in a car.” She added: “The question is, is the evidence strong enough to say don’t drink at all? At the moment I haven’t seen that evidence. Pregnant women need more evidence and less advice.””

This raises some of the issues discussed in Bordo’s article ‘Are mothers persons?’, (In her Unbearable Weight (1995)), in which she mentions a case in which a pregnant woman spent a night in a prison cell, having drunk a glass of wine in a restaurant. She also discusses various legal cases in which the US courts have failed to accord pregnant women the same rights to bodily integrity as other citizens.

More on mothers and foetus’ rights, in the US, here (this article is comprehensive, though relatively old. More recent stuff here)

Makeup and Veils

Hmm. AC sent me this interesting article comparing makeup and veiling.  The main idea is that there are some cultures in which women feel they can’t leave the house without makeup and some in which women feel they can’t leave the house without veils– and that this similarity is significant.  Although this is certainly right, the article made me feel a bit uneasy and I think I now see why.  The comparison, which is clearly directed at an audience that is more familiar with makeup than with veiling can be used in (at least) two ways: (1) to make veiling, which seems strange and foreign and “other”, is more comprehensible than it might initially seem; (2) to show that makeup, which may seem just fine to us, is really oppressive, just like veiling.  The author does (2). What bothers me is the author’s unexamined assumption that veiling– of whatever kind, done for whatever reason– simply is oppressive.  (And I do mean ‘unexamined’– the article hardly discusses veils at all.) For some good discussion of the complexities of veiling, see Hoodfar 1993, “The Veil in Their Minds and On Our Heads”, _Review of Feminist Research_ 22 (3-4): 2-18.

Still, the analogy is well worth considering, and there’s some interesting stuff on the history of makeup (or at least of claims about makeup). Apparently, “in 1964, sexologists Harry Benjamin and R.E.L. Masters claimed that lipstick wearing had its origins with prostitutes in the Middle East as it was “supposed to make the mouth resemble the vulva and it was first worn by those females who specialised in oral stimulation of the penis.”” Interesting if true.