Saturday, October 10, 2009

My response to critics of "Bellydancing Toward Gomorrah"

Well the defenders of the University of Kentucky's "Sex Week" didn't like my piece "Bellydancing Toward Gomorrah," which ran in last Friday's paper. Apparently they just didn't appreciate the irony of UK holding an event partly being to discourage violence against women that is sponsored by a sex toy company that considers arm and ankle restraints, whips, and handcuffs as "bedroom accessories."

Here are some of the comments, with my responses. First, there is QuiHai:
QuiHai wrote on 10/09/2009 10:07:28 AM:
"Why is it that you get the idea that the people who sponsor such events wear tie-dye T-shirts and beads, burn incense and give their children names like 'Rainbow,' 'Moon Beam,' and 'Sunflower'?"
What's the point of this, except to imply that people Cothran dislikes are "weird" and dismissable?
Um, let's see, how about: to ridicule people who do ridiculous things like have events directed against domestic violence that sell products that encourage people to fantasize about being domestically violent?
Is this supposed to be logical, persuasive or funny?
Nope. I suggest looking up the term 'ridicule' and noting that it is not synonymous with.

Second, there is TodaysFactCheck:
TodaysFactCheck wrote on 10/09/2009 05:10:12 PM:

1) Martian, er, Martin, get the professor's name right.

I got the professor's name from the front page Herald-Leader story here. If you've got a problem with that, take it up with Ryan Alessi or Peter Baniak.

2) That's correct, they don't know enough about sex because idiots like you think ignorance is better than education. Is your daughter pregnant yet?

Ah yes, the assumption that more awareness of sex leads to lower teen pregnancy rates. Care to show us some actual evidence that greater awareness of sex accompanies lower teen pregnancy? Didn't think so. And, no, daughter is untouched by the Sex Experts--and blissfully unaware of the sexual violence toys available from Pure Romance, Inc.--and strangely remains unpregnant.

3) The professor has degrees in human development and family studies, family mediation, and family science (Ph.D.), all from a highly-respected university.

Ooh. I'm so impressed. And that makes him a sex expert how? I would be much more impressed if he had a degree specifically in "sex" from somewhere. Don't they offer that somewhere?

Even the Sex Toys 101 presenter has a Master's in Public Health with a specialization in sexuality from a well-respected university.
Well, I guess that answers my last question: they do offer degrees in sex! What, did he get a "sex toys" minor or something?

It's pretty clear that TodaysFactCheck thinks someone who went somewhere and got a degree on families and sex knows more about both than someone who actually has a family and has had sex. I wonder if he thinks that someone who has gotten a degree in agriculture but never actually farmed knows more about farming than a farmer.

4) Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is Sunday, not Saturday. Martian, I was just getting started, but when you can't even get the simple facts correct you're not worth my time.

Strange how people who say you are not worth their time still write multi-point responses to your editorials. I'll stand corrected on the day of the week, but I'm still wondering, did the marchers against anti-woman violence wear the ankle and wrist restraints their sponsor sells on the web?

Finally, there was "man-with-shirt" (where do they get these devices for hiding their identities anyway?):
The real purpose of "Sex Week" and similar events is not to educate or bring awareness, but rather to irritate the so called "Religious Right." By writing this column, Cothran has played right into their hands.
Let's see if I've got this straight: UK's loony left spend a week making themselves look like complete imbeciles and I'm playing into their hands? Check.
... the Sex Weekers get some sort of weird gratification out of driving Christians crazy.
Let's see, they put on an event encouraging people to take sex seriously by offering belly dancing lessons and the people who make fun of it are crazy?

What was that QuiHai said about logic?


Anonymous said...

Did you ever play with a water gun? Made you think about killing someone, right? Your attempt to link bondage sex toys with actual domestic violence is both offensive and ignorant.

Have you been tested for dyslexia? Ryan had the professor's name correct, you had it wrong.

There is very compelling evidence that comprehensive sex education is correlated with lower teenage pregnancy rates. I realize it doesn't match your agenda so you would dismiss it even if you did find it, but have you ever actually looked for it?

I notice that you assume the sex toy presenter was a male, when it was actually a female.

Unlike SOME people who are completely ignorant of the facts but don't hesitate to make assumptions and form opinions anyway, I actually attended many of the Sex Week events. The week generally did a good job promoting sexual literacy - I didn't hear a single thing the entire week that even hinted at encouraging irresponsible sexual behavior, and many of the events fairly portrayed more conservative perspectives on sexuality as well.

My impression is that it's Martin and the Family Foundation, not Sex Week, that is trying to get publicity by making wildly ignorant statements and claims. Shame on you, Martin and the Family Foundation.

Martin Cothran said...

So did they discuss the practice handcuffs and whips they sell in the presentation on sex toys?

And maybe you could explain how encouraging students to fantasize about violent and humiliating behavior toward their sexual partner contributes to discouraging violence against women.

lauren said...

I play with water guns, and not once did I ever think about killing someone until you suggested it. Keep such dirt to yourself so those of us under 20 still have some areas of our mind untouched by violence, eh?

Lee said...

> I play with water guns, and not once did I ever think about killing someone until you suggested it. Keep such dirt to yourself so those of us under 20 still have some areas of our mind untouched by violence, eh?

I love that. UK has a "sex week", and Martin is the one spreading dirt, just for noticing.

The more depraved UK is, the dirtier Martin gets.

Martin Cothran said...


You talk as if the sole purpose of guns was to kill people. Believe it or not, guns actually have legitimate purposes. I'd love to hear your explanation of what, other than humiliation, handcuffs, ankle and wrist restraints have.

And can I also assume you are okay with selling Fantasy Lynching Sets at the next anti-racism event at UK?

lauren said...

There was a misunderstanding... I was directing my comment at the anonymous author, not Martin.

I realize that guns do not have a sole purpose of killing--they are quite useful. (If handled by an intelligent, responsible adult, that is.)

As far as an explanation into what purposes cuffs and restraints have, I have none. I never hope to wear them. You're right; they are humiliating. At least they used to be....

And just thinking of the whole market of fantasizing products that's availiable to individuals makes me nauseated. Which is why I don't like thinking about it. Which is why the whole idea of a 'Sex Week' disgusts me. Which is why I am officially prudish.

Anonymous said...

Since your response is not in the forum where the criticism against your view was made, will your critics even see your response? Are they readers of this blog?

Martin Cothran said...

I believe I told them my responses were here. If they don't want to take the trouble to click a link, it's not my problem.

Martin Cothran said...


Sorry, that was my fault. I'm glad to hear one can be an official prude. Where do I join?

lauren said...

As far as I can tell, you're already there. :) Keep it up.