A few years ago, I met Cathy & Peter at an adult content trade show. Cathy handed me her business card, which stated:
"Horniest housewife on the Internet"
Being a smartass that I am, I immediately remarked that this is a very bold claim and wondered what certification they had to prove this. We ended up chatting throughout the evening and again over the rest of that show. We started talking about their production company and websites. Cathy & Peter are married and produce & distribute adult content on their own websites. Cathy is the talent and Peter is the principal camera. They raise kids, shoot porn, travel the world and (apparently) hang out at trade shows talking to salespeople like me.
From the minute I met them, I really was struck with how normal they are. Cathy has a reputation for being a menace behind the wheel of a car, Peter is fucking funny and they're just two people who found a way to mix career, marriage, fun & sex together. What could be better than that? I sure as hell can't think of anything.
As anyone who works with or around the adult content industry knows, there is a difference between the person and the persona. The person pays bills, falls in love, buys a house, drives to work, takes a vacation and plans for retirement. The persona is either who they project themselves to be as part of theater of sex and fantasy; or who their critics make them out to be as they make money by extoling the evils of sex. For some time, I have wanted to interview people in the adult content / sex work business and let them speak for themselves in the language they choose to describe their own lives. Cathy & Peter were the first people I wanted to speak with.
SGB. What terms do you use to identify yourself as individuals and as a couple?
C&P. Not sure if we understand exactly want you mean by this question. We see ourselves as a happily married couple with an open relationship. Open in the sense that we include other people in our sex lives. Unlike some other people living in a similar relationship, however, we are always together whenever another person is involved.
Yes, it had to happen eventually! A big round of applause to Nextour (넥스투어) for producing the very first Korean commercial to feature a Korean woman literally dreaming of having a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a Western man, and with no suggestion that there will be anything but happiness once she succeeds.
New readers shaking your heads in disbelief however, then by all means prove me wrong by finding earlier examples. But before engaging on what I think will ultimately be a long and fruitless search, please consider reading other posts in the “interracial relationships” category, especially here, here, here, here, here, and here. And please also ponder the following quote from Hyun-Mee Kim in her chapter “Feminization of the 2002 World Cup and Women’s Fandom” in Feminist Cultural Politics in Korea, ed. by Jung-Hwa Oh, 2005, pp. 228-243 below on the then unprecedented public attention by Korean women on the bodies of the Korean players in the summer, and which gives a big clue as to why it has taken 8 years(!) for such an essentially innocuous commercial to emerge:
( Source: Metro, Busan edition, 8 July 2010, p. 3 )
A quick newspaper report that caught my eye while preparing the next post in this series.
Of course, I was a little disappointed that it discussed “average” smoking rates for men and women, an essentially useless concept given the diversity within each gender, and also widely inaccurate for women because of chronic underreporting by them. But that is to be expected for a free daily, and for what it’s worth it was interesting to see that Korean men retained the dubious honor of having one of the highest rates in the world. It also takes a step in the right direction by pointing out that female teenagers tend to start smoking much earlier than males too, which will hopefully result in more attention being given to that group:
People Would Consider Quitting if Cigarettes Cost 8500 won a Packet
Apparently, Korea is pretty unique in its huge difference in smoking rates between the sexes: up to 10 times more Korean men smoke than women. Or do they?
In short, probably not: considering that a 2007 Gallup Korea study found that 83.4% of Koreans thought that women should not smoke, then the accuracy of almost all figures are undermined by chronic underreporting by women. Moreover, it is misguided to speak of male or female smoking rates in the first place when those within each gender differ so widely by age, socioeconomic position, and/or marital status. Even unhelpful too, as low perceived rates for women overall have encouraged Korean medical authorities to almost exclusively focus on reducing smoking rates among men instead, overlooking rapidly rising rates among young women especially.
But for all their flaws, it is only natural to want to have some numbers to work with. And so, when I wrote Part 1, my original intention here was to pass on all those provided by 3 recent journal articles on the subject, hopefully providing readers with enough information to get at least a rough idea of the true numbers in the process. Numerous failed drafts later however, I now realize that that approach was a mistake, and should have paid much more attention to the following points by Lee et .al. (2009):
…the limited data available on female smoking prevalence and behaviour in South Korea must be urgently addressed. Data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Survey (Table 2) suggests female smoking rates have fluctuated significantly between 1980 and 2003, with variations within age groups by year that are difficult to explain. There are also inconsistencies across different data sources which prevent clear understanding of smoking behaviour within specific cohorts by age, location, socio-economic group and other variables.
As numerous expats can attest to, coming to live in Korea can be quite a jarring experience sometimes. But probably not as much as you’d expect, for Korea too is a modern, developed country, with institutions and services that match – nay, are often better – than equivalents in your home country. Comparatively speaking, the transition is really rather smooth.
Scratch below the surface however, and decidedly archaic twists to many aspects of daily life do soon emerge, many of which are profoundly gendered too. For example, after a few months here I began teaching a group of highly intelligent women already fluent in English, who attended my class merely as a hobby. All housewives, later I learned that they likely did so because while Korea has been providing an equal education to both sexes for decades now, and indeed as many as 82% of high-school graduates go on to university, just a few years after graduating women are routinely fired and/or are pressured to resign upon getting married or becoming pregnant. Which makes one wonder what the point of women’s higher education was exactly, and accordingly a study conducted just a few years earlier (Women’s education, work, and marriage in Korea: women’s lives under institutional conflicts by Mijeong Lee, 1998, pp. 161-163) found that, à la Jane Austen, it was largely to secure higher-earning husbands.
The poly folks come in at 3:10, but the whole clip is a good analysis of the marriage debates.
As the comments on Poly in the News agree (including one from George and Joy Reagan, the couple featured), The Daily Show did an impressive job of showing the poly interviewees as articulate, well-adjusted, sexy people, and getting its laughs at the expense of professional-comedian Jason Jones and his mock-sensationalism instead.
In 1850, Nathanial Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter” was first published; it is now considered to be his most famous work. A dissertation on sin and guilt paralleling the Christian myth of Adam and Eve, the novel draws upon such themes that dominated the 1950’s social landscape and maintains significant relevance even today. In brief synopsis, a young woman in 1700 Boston commits the sin of adultery, bearing a child out marriage. The story chronicles the trials and tribulations of the young woman and her purported lover; following the public scorn, shame and attempts at redemption. The first images of the book describe an early morning release of a female prisoner and her infant daughter. The young woman bears a scrap of red fabric in the shape of the letter “A”: Adulterer.
It would be supremely naïve to believe that women and men were destined to remain monogamous and become sexually active only within the confines of blessed-from-above marriage; yet heterosexual relationships are indeed the norm. Polygamy, sodomy, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, bisexuality and any other form of sexual/intimate relationship between two human beings have all been considered a sin at one point of another since the introduction and prevalence of puritanical patriarchy , now called Christian ‘values’ , which dominate modern American culture. In typical duplicitous fashion, American rulers, male politicians, are among the foremost purveyors of these “Christian Values”, while consistently the most egregious rule breakers amongst us. Case in point: Eliot Spitzer, former Governor of New York.
About six weeks after my wedding, I'm finally getting around to legally changing my name. Which is a highly personal and arguably an eccentric choice for me to make as a polyamorous feminist. I've heard all the arguments for keeping one's maiden name, and I confess that I have no rational argument against them. My husband and I are still separate individuals. ...But for a few weeks after the wedding, every time I said, heard, or signed my name with my husband's last name, I did get a kick of girlish glee. It's a cool name. And now that the novelty is wearing off of it, my maiden name has started sounding increasingly strange to me.