• Skyler Neal

Photo by Charles Deluvio

When did Playboy magazine suddenly become a half-decent feminist platform of speech instead of those eye-catching images of busty women that the magazine is known for? I can’t give you an exact date on when this transformation took place but the magazine itself has certainly been going through a journey of what it means to be a porn magazine. First, I’m going to quote Jordan Emanuel, Playmate of the Year, who caught my attention scrolling through the news app on my iPhone with this statement, “ I would like to thank Playboy for always embracing and displaying that women are more than meets the eye. Obviously, you’ve all seen the pages of Playboy, and it’s eye-catching, to say the least. But those pages have always represented the versatility that women have. We are witty women. We are smart women. We are driven women, and we are bold.” My curiosity was sparked, I mean, how could a porn magazine truly empower this woman or any woman for that matter? Playboy screams sex, and sex is one of the most debated topics in not only westernized cultures but all over the world. In western countries especially, we are obsessed with sex as a culture but at the same time, we fear and condone it. Talk about mixed signals, we slut-shame sex-positive women while at the same time putting them on the cover of magazines like Playboy. I don’t know about you all but I’m certainly confused.

I searched for a little clarity by going onto the Playboy website and searching for this mystical feeling called “empowerment” and I found it when I realized much of the content on their website is written by women about the many topics that circle around sex and gender. There’s an article written by Arkee Escalera called, “Searching for the Secret Gay Agenda in Animation”, that essentially debunks the myth that cartoons are teaching children how to be gay. Another favorite of mine is an article titled, “TV’s De-Romanticization of Bad Female Behaviors”, which offers thought to the idea that in pop-culture media, women are often portrayed as stereotypical party girls or other characters without recognizing the truth behind these behaviors and the mental cost it takes on not only them but those around them. For Playboy, a magazine that was a huge part of bringing porn to the forefront of our culture, to comment and digest the ways in which our society treats “sex” in a modern, reflective, and progressive way is a huge step in the right direction for the entire sex-industry and our society as a whole. Sex is a part of our existence as human beings so why deny that it’s happening or shame others who don’t ignore the fact that we all have desires? To quote the queen of weird herself, Lady Gaga, “Don’t hide yourself in regret just love yourself and you’re set.” That’s the underlying message behind much of what makes up Playboy’s written content.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, in fact, there's a lot of room. For example, the idea that only men watch or look at porn is so 1950s so why are all of the Playmates women? This magazine was built for men, yes, but more and more women both straight and gay are embracing their sexuality so there’s a significant need for content out there that appeals to us, as straight women, gay women and also queer men. I will say they have featured some photoshoots and interviews with queer stars like Ezra Miller and he may pose with those classic bunny ears but it’s still a problem that Miller cannot become a Playmate according to the Playboy’s rules. Every single human being on this earth no matter their sexuality, skin color, disability, or anything else one could possibly think of, should be able to hold the title of a “Playmate” because sex isn’t just for straight white men anymore, it’s for everyone.

#sex #playboy #controversy #babes #feminism #women #girlpwr #pink #thefutureisfemale #love

Did you know that the International Labour Organization has estimated that the industries of forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide? A staggering twenty-five percent of victims are children while 75% are women and girls. It’s a startling statistic considering the fact that sex trafficking and forced labor are issues often overlooked by governments across the world not to mention us, the people living relatively comfortable means compared to those victims. This article was not written to shame you, in fact, quite the opposite, I as well as the people behind Love-Justice, an organization that helps to eradicate this industry just want to empower you to start standing up for these victims. So what exactly is #MayDay? Throughout the entire month of May, we are asking everyone with the means to make a change to join us in the fight for justice and help the millions of victims worldwide who suffer one of the greatest crimes against humanity; slavery of any kind. Love-Justice has intercepted over 16,000 incidents of attempted trafficking but there are still, in the present, over 40 million people currently living in slavery around the world. These victims, as well as the people who help them, are sending out a call for help, in other words, a #mayday call throughout the month of May and asking for help.

Love-Justice is one of many organizations working to end modern-day slavery but they are unique in that they try to intercept trafficking before it happens. Their goal at the end of the day is to save 1,000 more lives per year, which is AMAZING! In order to do this, they will only need 1,000 of us new donors to give $10 per month or 500 people to give $20 per month. If you have the means to help fund this project you have the opportunity to save many beautiful lives from going through the extreme darkness that is the sex trade and forced labor industry. Influencers are joining in the fight like Ben Higgins, Kelsey Floyd, and Stefanie Rouse to spread the message that all lives are beautiful. If you’re not in a financial position to donate feel free to share this article with those who can.

It's important to not let crimes like this slip under the rug as conscientious human beings. A big part of "adulting" is realizing that there are much bigger problems in the world than our own lives. Cue Kim K's sudden decision to become a lawyer. All lives are beautiful including yours and the strangers you don't know who are suffering behind closed doors. It's time to step up and take action for those who are less fortunate than us. No matter your religion, race, gender, and sexuality we all have the power to help others because we are all the same, nothing less and nothing more. The world is in need of more love and less hate. This is your opportunity to give back a little sunshine :)

To find out more about #MayDay and Project Beautiful feel free to watch this video and this video.

Go to LoveJustice to learn more about what you can do to help victims of human trafficking.

#love #lovejustice #justiceforvictims #mayday #sextrafficking

  • Skyler Neal

Updated: Jan 12, 2019

Self-assurance. What a pretty little thing with a huge impact on all of our lives. I'm a fairly confident person, I'm able to speak my mind and stand up for myself which was not always the case and definitely always a work in progress for me. I encountered a period of growth starting in seventh grade when I began to feel anxious and depressed, why? I'm really fucking sensitive. The world in its entirety felt like a weight that I could not carry by myself and for that I felt alone. I went to therapy, explored meditation, and yoga. For me, I heal through talking out loud which is why I've continued to see a therapist over the last few years up until my first semester at college. Sometimes I felt like my problems were silly compared to many in this world whose daily existence is a constant struggle but every bit of it felt real to me. I like control and my anxiety is a response to everything I cannot control to the point where it's completely irrational. Even as I'm writing this blog post I'm struggling to breathe fully (surprisingly not as dramatic as it sounds). I've noticed that anytime I have lot's of downtime, like right now on winter break, I find needless things to worry about to keep me entertained but in fact it just stresses me the fuck out. You'd think I'd be more stressed when I have a packed week in college but it calms me because this is structured time, time that I know exactly what I'm going to do with. When I get into this state of haggard breathing and worrisome thinking it used to drag me to a place where I'd be stuck in bed, watching Netflix, trying to distract myself from whatever I was subconsciously worried about that day because oftentimes I don't even know what I'm stressed out about. Cut to a few weeks later and I'm having a mental breakdown or rather a really heavy crying marathon trying to articulate why I feel this way sometimes. I have grown to accept this, in fact, I think it's healthy. I used to never cry, like ever. I'd hold everything in trying to become numb to all the pain I saw around me because I didn't know that you could see the light at the same time. I'm older and wiser now, enough to know that it's okay to cry, even in this patriarchal world we live in that celebrates toughness as a non-emotional mindset, pushing through everything that comes our way. Guess what, that's called being a psychopath and that is NOT a healthy way to go about living your life. Feelings are meant to be felt and tears are meant to be shed no matter how much it stings. I consider myself a fairly angry person, especially nowadays with everything going on politically in America. This tension builds and builds until I end up beating up my pillow or a punching bag at the gym pretending it's Trump's face and all of his lying bastards. Not even going to lie I sometimes pretend I'm racing some sexist asshole like Trump or literally isis when I'm on the elliptical or in cycling class. Yes, that is hilarious and kind of embarrassing but it's my therapy, my way of dealing with this crazy world, that and my Instagram story rants lol. So wait, where does lipstick come into this equation? To quote one of the most remarkable women to ever set foot on this planet: Coco Chanel “If you’re sad, if you are disappointed in love, put on your makeup, give yourself some beauty care, put on lipstick, and attack.” There's something about lipstick that's so symbolic to me. It's a modern-day warrior paint of sorts, everyone from drag queens to movie stars wears it and up until recently, I never touched the stuff. You see I'm a Maine girl at heart, a girl with a tomboy spirit guided by my admiration of my older brothers. I grew up suppressing my femininity. I'm no tomboy and I'm no girly girl, I'm just me, let's drop the labels. When I put on my lipstick in the morning it's like I chose to own that day. Now that I'm home for a few weeks I wear it less because I'm attempting to relax and "do nothing" so naturally, I end up writing a blog post. We don't have to win every day because life's not a competition it's a state of being in existence. There is no game to win it's just you and the choices you make. After a night of crying there's nothing like waking up the next morning to take a shower, put on a little make-up, wear a killer outfit, and walk around with a fresh pout to fit your attitude of I'm not taking shit from anybody. I'm not telling you to go out there and wear lipstick. I'm telling you to go find your own "lipstick". Is it painting your nails? Kicking a soccer ball at random people (haha don't do that)? Whatever it is, find it. Hang on to it and worship it like it's your holy grail because sometimes it will be. It's "Jesus take the wheel" for practical people.

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