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What Every Mom Wants for Mother’s Day

May 8, 2015

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A room of one’s own…specifically, a hotel room…in which to masturbate. That’s the message of the funny music video by The Pump and Dump, called “Hotel Room“:

While watching the video, we realized the singer’s voice sounded familiar…and then it hit us: “Walk of Shame“! — another funny music video we highlighted on this site years ago by comedian Shayna Ferm (much lower production values, but hey, it was only 2008):

Back then, she was backed by “the Upper Deckers.” Now, two kids later (not unlike yours truly), she’s joined forces with “MC Doula” to create The Pump and Dump Show, “a raucous evening of comedy, inappropriate music, prizes, drinking, swearing and commiseration in Denver, Colorado…sure to make you laugh your c-section scar open” every month.

Sometimes they take their show on the road. We just want to know when they’re coming to the Hudson Valley!

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Understanding Islamic Feminism

May 7, 2015

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“Islamic feminist.” Sounds like an oxymoron, right? But this week’s episode of the PRI radio show “America Abroad,” produced and written by (our amazing friend) Mia Lobel, will get you thinking. This fascinating hourlong podcast called “Understanding Islamic Feminism” covers feminist reinterpreters of the Koran in Egypt, Morocco’s most progressive family law in the East (which makes it easier for women to divorce, inherit property, and gain custody of their children), the burka ban in France, the first all-female mosque in the United States, and — our favorite — a profile of the creator of “Shugs & Fats,” a sketch comedy web series featuring two veiled women exploring the cultural traditions and trends of the West (think juice cleanses, speed dating, and — yes! — even vibrators). While it may seem, at times, like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole (especially if you’re an atheist), this particular public radio show will give you great hope for the future of Islam — that it can and will become a religion which globally recognizes the human rights of women, thanks to feminist activists like those featured here:

 

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Our Favorite Reponses to #HowToSpotAFeminist

May 7, 2015

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You might have noticed this week that an unpleasant hashtag made the rounds on Twitter. #HowToSpotAFeminist was started by one of those mysogynistic wannabe-Howard-Stern drive-time morning DJs (whose name and Twitter handle we will keep to ourselves, as he doesn’t deserve any more attention). The hashtag was meant to get people making fun of burning bras and hairy armpits. And sure, that happened — you can go find those Tweets yourself if you like. We won’t publish them here. But then, the very funny and very feminist women (and, yes, men) of Twitter took over. Here are some of our faves…

Planned Parenthood ‏@PPact

When you know Roe v Wade isn’t a suggestion—but a constitutionally protected right #ppGeneration #HowToSpotAFeminist

Blake Irving ‏@Blakei

“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality & full humanity of women & men – @GloriaSteinem #HowToSpotAFeminist

Angela Cobb ‏@angelacobb

#HowToSpotAFeminist Look in the mirror. If you don’t see one there, hop in a time machine and go back where you belong.

Jen Kirkman ‏@JenKirkman

If you see a guy I am sleeping with. #HowToSpotAFeminist

Rhys James ‏@rhysjamesy

#HowToSpotAFeminist A feminist doesn’t need spotting. She can lift weights on her own thank you very much. Or he.

Michele Catalano ‏@inthefade

#HowToSpotAFeminist have a conversation with a woman. Chances are you found one.

Kristen Schaal ‏@kristenschaaled

#HowToSpotAFeminist I’m one!

NWLC ‏@nwlc

#HowToSpotAFeminist? Easy: follow the trail of broken glass to where they smashed through the ceiling!

Katha Pollitt ‏@KathaPollitt

She’s the one who thinks women have the right to determine their own path in life #howtospotafeminist

Charles Clymer ‏@cmclymer

This could also say: how to spot any rational adult who respects others. #HowToSpotAFeminist

“Do you want equality?” “Yes.” GOTCHA.

They have the crazy idea that they should be paid the same amount of money as a man.

the fifth arm is usually a bit shorter

They turn solid purple during the Full Moon.

I don’t need femimss ? You cannot. You will never even know she is there. Until it is too late.

look out for anyone that has a functioning brain inside their head and you’re on the right track

? u can’t. we move unseen in the shadows until it is too late. we are sneaky like ninjas.

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Questioning the Kink in the “Fifty Shades” Movie, in Honor of Its Digital/DVD Release

May 5, 2015

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When Fifty Shades of Grey first hit screens this past February, our friend and colleague Gwynne Watkins — who writes for Yahoo, often awesomely about movies — interviewed us about how realistic the kink was. In honor of the movie’s digital & DVD release this week, we’re publishing the initial, unedited and unabridged email questions we exchanged with Gwynne before the phone interview that drove her article

*** 

Are Christian and Ana typical dom/sub types? It seems like a super-controlling guy like Christian might be a bottom in real life… 
We tend to shy away from saying anything is typical, especially when it comes to kink and fetishes — everyone’s different. And remember, he was a bottom when he was younger, with Mrs. Robinson. Kink insiders often say that the best tops used to be bottoms, and the best bottoms used to be tops.

How’s the equipment in the red room? (And the hardware store?)
According to the production designers, the Red Room was top of the line all the way — and it looked it! Some of the rope work looked a little sloppy (but we’re not connoisseurs and we admit we were a little tipsy during our viewing). Thumbs down on the hardware cable ties — in the book it’s implied that he’ll use them to restrain her, in the movie he flat out states it — that’s bush league, never use cable ties to restrain someone’s wrists or appendages, it’s super dangerous in terms of potential physical damage. Use them to organize your rope, that’s it.

Is the contract negotiation plausible?
Yes and no. We love the idea of couples being very specific about what they will and won’t do sexually. A lot of emotional and physical pain could be avoided if more people did that together, very explicitly. And while people can agree on slave “contracts” quote unquote, and can have faith that they’ll each honor them, they’re not legally binding and we think it would have been cool if savvy business man Christian, in both the book and the movie, had been more clear with ingenue Ana that this wasn’t a real lawyerly doc, like the NDA.

How well do they handle the negotiation? 
We loved the negotiation scene added to the movie, such a step up from the original badgering in the book. It was witty, funny and put them both on an even playing field, even giving Ana the edge, which is more realistic in terms BDSM relationships — you always hear it’s the sub who holds all the actual power because it’s up to them to decide what will and won’t happen.

Are people who love S&M uncomfortable with intimacy?
Like members of the vanilla community, some of them are, some of them aren’t. Again, let’s avoid sweeping generalizations.

Is S&M a way to take out your repressed anger at your parents?
That’s an unscientific question for Freud.

Does he use the riding crop correctly? How’s his rope technique?
Like we said, we were a little tipsy! He was pretty gentle with the riding crop, which is important when starting with a newbie. And probably a good idea in a mainstream movie, too — because using a riding crop can really injure someone if you do it wrong. We seem to recall him using the riding crop near her stomach area, which is fine when you’re being as gentle as he is, but when you get more intense, you really should stick to tougher areas like the butt.

We wish they could have been a little more explicit in showing how pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin — it was all very BDSM-light. Then again, it’s more responsible to err on the side of caution when you have so many people seeing this movie, getting inspired, and then wanting to try stuff at home — things can go very wrong very quickly if you try anything too advanced without the proper research/training. Still, during the erotic flogging mid-movie, Christian could have been using a couple of wet noodles, it was so tame. And when she’s tied on the leather bed, the restraints seemed way too loose, giving Ana way too much wiggle room — a case of cinematography winning out over authenticity.

What is with the total lack of foreplay?
We would have liked a little more physical teasing in that department, but it’s a short film, and there was a lot to pack in. But we really enjoyed Richard Brody’s take in the New Yorker which argued that the movie was chock full of foreplay in a way that other movies that explore romantic relationships totally lack — the entire Fifty Shades movie was extended foreplay and sexual tension.

Does carrying Anastasia out of the room like a baby count as aftercare?
Sure, we’ll count it. Could it have been better, in both the book and movie? Most definitely. And while giving Ana her own room seems a bit creepy and controlling in a regular relationship where you’re just a bit kinky on a Saturday night… in the context of an entire power-play relationship, such as Christian and Ana have — or at least, such as Christian would like — it’s kind of a nice touch.

Does a dom/sub relationship extend to an entire life outside of the bedroom like Christian seems to think it does?
For the minority it does — just read up on the disturbing “Taken in Hand” community — but for the majority it’s something that they do behind closed doors, something that happens in the bedroom (or dungeon) and stays in the bedroom (dungeon).

Why is Christian the only one who enjoys this? Isn’t S&M about both people enjoying it?
Yes, it’s definitely about both people enjoying it. If both people aren’t enjoying it, then they’re doing it wrong. In the book, Ana was way too conflicted for our tastes, which made Christian’s abusive behavior that much worse. They certainly toned down his stalker-ish tendencies in the movie, thankfully (though hello, he broke into her apartment and she didn’t say a word!), and they made Ana seem much more into the kink in the movie: every sexual encounter in the movie besides the flogging at the end seemed thoroughly enjoyable to her. In fact, we were kind of fantasizing they’d do something truly provocative and empowering and unexpected by ending the movie with a close up of Ana giving a little smile of ecstasy on the bench after her flogging, in spite of herself. That’s the “Secretary” ending we loved.

 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Read “I Take You” by Eliza Kennedy

May 5, 2015

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Have you met Lily Wilder? You should. She’s the seriously funny, seriously sex-driven, and seriously flawed protagonist of the novel I Take You by Eliza Kennedy, which is on sale starting today. Here are five reasons why you should pick up a copy right now…

1. I Take You is a straightforward look at female promiscuity, and the way that women can sleep around just like men. And while the book doesn’t gloss over the protagonist’s flaws, it never judges her for these flaws as a woman. Simply as a person.

2. It’s the smartest, sexiest, funniest (like, hilarious) beach read on the shelves right now.

3. It’ll give you a lot to talk about on your next ladies’ night: What it means to settle, what it means to be monogamous, what it means to be married. Oh, yeah, and whether or not you should sleep with your boss.

4. The protagonist Lily Wilder is no damsel in distress, nor is she a bubbly, slightly ditzy magazine editor, a la Bridget Jones. Instead, our heroine is a kick-ass corporate attorney.

5. The sex scenes are steamy, and, unlike with Fifty Shades of Grey, you don’t have to suffer through cringe-inducing cliches, cartwheeling inner Goddesses, and implausible plot twists to get to them.

I Take You by Eliza Kennedy is on sale now  |  Find out more at LilyWilder.com

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Blog Snog: The 29 Steamiest Movie Sex Scenes of All Time

May 1, 2015

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Wedding Gift Idea: Intimate Art Kit

April 30, 2015

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This has been around for a few years, but the unique product launching site The Grommet just re-featured it in a recent newsletter: The Love Is Art Kit – a way for couples to make abstract art with their naked bodies while they get it on. Jeremy Brown, the South African-born artist who’s created the kit, has been making paintings while doing the dirty for over a decade — he nicked got the idea from French artist Yves Klein who used to have human models covered in paint roll around on his canvases back in the 1960s. When a friend of Brown’s asked him how she could make one for her husband, he came up with the kit.

Sure, it’s a bit corny, but a frame can elevate anything. Plus, don’t you think it could be worth it simply for the fun you’d have coming up with titles: The Moana Lisa, The Persistence of Mammaries, The Birth of Penis, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Juggs, Whistler’s Mother Fucker, Nudes Sitting on a Canvas, Girl with a Pearl Necklace, Dog Playing Poke-Her…we could go on and on.

For $60 (and up), the kit includes:

  • 8′ x 12′ plastic tarp to protect surfaces from paint splashes
  • 3.5′ x 4.5′ specially treated cotton canvas
  • 4 oz bottle of specially formulated all natural, organic, non-toxic, washable paint
  • Two pairs of disposable slippers to get you from the canvas to the shower
  • Soft mesh body scrubber

Here are the instructions:

  • Roll the plastic sheet out onto the floor.
  • Place the specially treated canvas on top of the plastic sheet.
  • Pour the 4oz of specially formulated paint onto the canvas, and then use your bodies to move the paint around and across the canvas to a unique abstract image.
  • Throw the disposable slippers on and walk to the shower or bath to wash each other.
  • After your one of a kind abstract painting has dried, simply take the canvas to your local art store and have it stretched onto a frame.

You could call yourself Passion Pollock for a day!

 

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Favorite Podcast: Love + Radio

April 28, 2015

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photo of Ceara Lynch via Love + Radio

Ever since Serial, we’ve been looking for a new podcast addiction. And we’ve finally found it in Love + Radio, a podcast from PRX’s Radiotopia.fm, which describes itself as “a collective of the best story-driven shows on the planet.” The stories that drive “Love + Radio” are compelling, quirky and often R-rated.

The most famous episode has to be “Jack & Ellen,” about a young lesbian woman who hated her job at Subway as a “sandwich artist” so much, she turned to a “creative” project that could earn her $30K for a few hours of work each week: pedo-baiting, i.e. posing as an underage girl online in order to blackmail pedophiles into buying her $500 Amazon gift cards.

 

The next one we listened to was the most recent — “Thank You, Princess” — which takes you behind the scenes of a successful fem dom’s operation, including eavesdropping on one paying customer’s over-the-phone humiliation. You’ll want to cover your ears, it’s so cringe-inducing, but you won’t be able to stop listening!

 

As if our sex-writing divining rod were leading the way, we listened to “Dirty Balloons” next, the story of one young woman’s one-time experience making balloon-fetish porn. The repetitive audio ending to this one is one of the best indictments of pornography we’ve ever (literally) heard.

 

They’re not all about sex, but even the emotionally powerful episode called “The Living Room,” about one man’s death, deals with nudity, exhibitionism, and voyeurism. We haven’t listened to enough of them to discern a consistent theme beyond personal stories told with aural flair (and swear words), but we were struck by the theme uniting the three sex-related episodes we happened to listen to first: all of them focused on young women who needed money, didn’t want to work minimum wage jobs, and turned to some variation of sex work catering to male heterosexuals with particular obsessions, to use the term loosely (pedophilia, humiliation, balloon popping). As compelling as the above three episodes are, they paint a pretty depressing picture of the economic opportunities that young women have (or should we say, don’t have) these days.

We know, we know: that’s precious coming from two women who run a sex-advice blog for a living. But the sense you get from the three women interviewed is that none of them particularly enjoy (or enjoyed) their experiences: the humiliatrix doesn’t get off on it, the balloon virgin faked her way through it, and the con woman feels pretty bad about the whole thing. Besides feeling like we needed to take a shower afterwards, we came away from these podcasts feeling even more sure than ever that the minimum wage definitely needs to be raised.

 

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Understanding Bruce Jenner as a Genderbread Person

April 28, 2015

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This past Friday, Diane Sawyer interviewed Bruce Jenner for 20/20, and she received rave reviews for her respectful approach to the topic of transgenderism. It was a refreshing conversation, especially after so many months of tabloid headlines about what Jenner looks like in a dress, and whether or not Jenner will keep his* penis. In fact, 20/20 announced, via Twitter, that “genitals don’t equal gender.” The 20/20 special also went to great pains to ensure they weren’t equating gender identity with sexual orientation. None of which should come as breaking news to a lot of people, though it probably does.

Of course, one sensitive interview with one reporter taking time to actually listen can’t change transgender stereotypes overnight. We’re sure plenty of people — including, perhaps, your parents — are still rolling their eyes over the whole thing. So it seems as good a time as any to revisit the awesome Genderbread Person illustration, now in a fancy-pants 3.2 version (see above). FYI, the 3.2 version now separates romantic and sexual attraction.

For anyone who still claims not to “get” transgenderism, show them the above illustration, courtesy of ItsPronouncedMetrosexual.com. For suggested talking points, the original Genderbread blog post here and the 3.0 blog post here might help. It’s an amazingly simple, astonishingly effective illustration, in our experience. To break it down: Bruce Jenner’s biological sex (the purple bit) is male. His identity (the brain bit) is female. And, gradually, over the coming months and years, his expression (the dotted line) is likely to become increasingly feminine. All of which is completely unrelated to the red heart — who he is romantically and sexually attracted to. Simple, right? Something even a fifth grader could understand.

And if, after all this, someone still doesn’t “get it”? Eh, we guess not everyone can be smarter than a fifth grader.

* Bruce Jenner has yet to announce a female name, or to request that he be referred to as she. As soon as that happens, we will switch over.

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Blog Snog: First Pic from “Fifty Shades Darker”

April 24, 2015

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photo via Access Hollywood