Friday, October 24, 2008


This column ran in The Independent Florida Alligator (local Gainesville/UF rag) and enraged me enough to write the editor.  Below is the column, which ran Thursday, and my response which ran today:

Thursday, October 23, 2008 1:56 AM EDT

Halloween treats adults to more than just candy

By STEPHANIE DUNN, Alligator Writer
I'm convinced Halloween was created for the sole purpose of getting boned. No other holiday compares. When mischief and moonlight abound, someone is going to get laid. Throw in a chintzy costume, garish makeup and orange beer, and you're done for.

Long gone are the days when you relentlessly sought the creepiest costume, the one that would really make your Nana piss her granny panties when you popped up from behind the couch spewing fake blood and guts. We college students still take our costume hunting seriously, but in a decidedly naughtier direction. That angelic little girl who, a decade ago, was happy with a wand, glitter and plastic pumpkin for trick–or–treating has morphed into a ravenous, raunchy little hooker – but just for Oct. 31. Unless you go to FSU, then it's a year–round ordeal.

This is apparently the formula: Take any character or profession and whorify it beyond recognition. Really slut it up – underwear will suffice. Oh, you're a Victoria's Secret Angel for Halloween? How clever. You can be a sexy nun, a sexy soccer mom, a sexy sex slave. It doesn't matter, as long as it's transparent, shows butt cheek or cleavage, and comes equipped with an accessory that can double as a sex toy later on – fishnets or a whip will do. Since when are Disney princesses cock–mongering whores? Since now. Guys are minimalists. If they put any effort into their costumes at all, which is a rarity, they go for the funny costumes or at least ones they think are funny. Dead celebrities, political parodies, cross–dressing, the usual. But I think that deep down, they want to be sexy for Halloween, too. Whether they're 12 or 22, guys fantasize about being Batman, Superman, anything ending in "man." They can fulfill their boyish fantasies for a night, even if they'll ultimately be disappointed in how they look in a bat suit, and I get that. What I don't buy is the guy who starts hitting the gym in September, oils up his abs and quads, and slaps on a four–inch long loincloth thing because "King Leonidas kicked ass in '300'!"

Couples should just pick each other's costumes because it's a free pass to hand–select who they want to take home at the end of the night. It's like cheating without the guilt. Any other night of the year, if you dress up for sex you're either kinky beyond belief or your relationship has gotten so boring that dressing up is a last resort. Not so on All Hallows Eve. The one thing that hasn't changed since we were kids is that Halloween is all about indulgence. If you have a fetish, tonight you can go all–out. A fetish doesn't necessarily have to do with feet or body fluids I'd frankly rather not mention. It can be as simple as a "thing," and everyone has a thing. You're bound to find at least three people from your fantasies parading drunk down the street, so why not take advantage?

I know that not everyone gets all skanked up for Halloween and that some of us have an ounce of originality left. I daresay it would be more fun if we still dressed up in scary costumes. But somewhere along the line, it clicked that fear and sex go together in a sick Freudian way (hence the adrenaline–filled horror movie sex scenes). Eventually, we decided to leave out the unpleasant fear component and just go with pure sex. So, in honor of Slut–o–ween, treat yourself to a trick and leave the candy for the kids.

Friday, October 24, 2008 1:11 AM EDT

Halloween sex column lacked substance

By Liz Martin, 4LS
I was bothered enough to feel compelled to write about Stephanie Dunn’s Thursday article “Halloween treats adults to more than candy” in this week’s edition of Sex on the Avenue.

I’m impressed that the Alligator has the gall to run a seemingly sex–positive column; in fact I applaud it whole–heartedly. However, this writer has continually missed the mark and simply enraged me this week.

I do not approve of the way in which Dunn presented her case against scandalously clad women on Halloween. Is Halloween really the one holiday “created for the sole purpose of getting boned”?
   What about New Year’s Eve? Or Valentine’s Day?

The way in which Dunn discussed women’s costume choices both degraded and reinforced the objectification of women and their bodies.  By calling women “sluts” and “whores,” Dunn recreated the image that women are objects asking to be ravaged, exploited and “boned.”  It’s highly degrading to construct women as inferior beings who don’t seem to have enough sense not to dress up like “raunchy little hookers.”

Then Dunn moved on to men. Why are men continually painted as brutish, lazy and sex–crazed? These stereotypes hurt men just as much as they do women. They encourage men to act in a hyper–masculine manner and send the message that something is wrong with them if they don’t behave this way.

There were many other things that bothered me about Dunn’s work, but what was most frustrating was the lack of any real critique or content.  I would rather see the space used to actually discuss these constructions and people’s seemingly sex–driven Halloween choices than some crap about how women are all sluts on Halloween, how dressing up is an excuse for people to play out their “kinky beyond belief” fantasies or pretend their partners are someone else because on this one night, it is socially excusable.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

death of the american dream

As I sat outside writing a paper on my chic little mac, enjoying a beautiful fall day here in Gainesville, I took a small break to read one of my favorite blogs, Sweet Juniper.  Today it wasn't the usual adorable tales of the socially conscious stay-at-home dad, that make me dream about one day having children of my own and contributes to the fantasy construction of the hypothetical father of my future children.   It was about one of his solitary adventures to an abandoned school in Detroit.  My heart broke into a thousand little pieces and I wondered how people can so easily overlook  the poverty and despair that exists here in our own country.  How do so many different wolds exist within each other?  Why are some more visible than others?  Why has the distribution of wealth become so very skewed and lop-sided?

I thought more about it.  About Michigan's crumbling struggling economy in the shadow of the dying American auto industry.  About the corruption of Detroit's government and public officials that is often the butt end of jokes.  And I shed a tear.  Is this a preview of where America is heading?  Is Michigan just the beginning?  

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.  Change is coming.  Perhaps there are more beautiful days ahead.  

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

mister foe

Went to go see this last night with Mr. Man.  More to come, but for now enjoy this trailer:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

solitary adventure

Saturday I was mentally exhausted and fried.  I haven't had too much time to sit alone and reflect on anything since the semester began.  In fact, most of the time I've spent alone in the past few weeks has been to a) sleep, b) study, or c) do chores around the house.  None of which I enjoy so much to classify as an adventure.  So when I sat down to study Saturday morning in attempts to again hit the books, I felt cranky and irritable.  I resolved to go on an adventure with myself and simply enjoy the overcast day.  To sit out and think, reflect, and simply be.  These are some pictures I took while I played on Payne's Prairie.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

surprise from the past

When I returned from India, Erin filled me in on a book that was coming out by artist Keri Smith.  I've posted things by her before.  We were giddy back in July about her upcoming book How to be and Explorer of the World.  We decided that since it made connections between artists (Erin) and scientists (me) that really it was a book about our adventures together and overall curious friendship.  I pre-ordered the book on Amazon and promptly forgot about it until Friday when it materialized on my coffee table.  Thank you past Liz!  You made me remember all the things I have stopped thinking about lately due to overwork and overload of college life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

way to my heart

I recently started dating a wonderful person who has found the way to my heart... plants.  Here are some flowers I received.  A week later they're still looking amazing.

I later dissected some of the flowers to study parts for an exam I took this past week.  Not all, just a few.  :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

article published!

I talked a week or so ago about being asked to write an article for some friend's budding publication The Fine Print.  Well, here is the final product:

While I'm nervous about how I'll react upon receiving criticism, it's something I a) need to come to terms with and b) am really proud of myself for simply doing.  It took me quite some time to actually write the article.  I'm also forever indebted to Hanners and Kite for allowing me to use some of their amazing pictures from the trip.  I didn't know exactly how to deliver what the editors had asked for, mostly because I couldn't articulate what I wanted to.  I'm still having a difficult time discussing and truly explaining my experiences.  Yet I feel that this article is probably the most real and accessible I've been in terms of explaining it.  It's odd, I can talk to people from the trip very easily mostly because I don't have to really explain anything, but get me with someone who knows limited things about India and I get overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  I suppose I don't really care what people have to say about it.  A classmate of mine, a graduate student from India, said she really enjoyed the piece and found it rather accurate.  Greatest compliment I could have received and all I needed.

Also, if you acquire a print copy of the publication, be sure to read Losing Grace by Matthew Clark.  It's not online for some reason.  I wish it was so I could post a link for it.  It's a short column, but I honestly feel it's the best written and most interesting piece in the 24 page publication.  I'm not just saying that because Matthew is a dear friend of mine, but because it is what I truly believe.  He's a wonderful writer and I, for one, look forward to reading more of his work.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

morning procrastination

Happy October!  What in the world happened to September?  Oh well...  Here's today's procrastination.