Sex and The Media: Where’s The Accountability?

In these times . . . when so much is going on in our world, not just in our country, but all over our world . . . when every media report has the potential to be heard or read by millions . . . our media needs to be more accountable than ever before.

But recently two media organizations ran stories that were anything but responsible or accountable!

The first was a story about about an 11-year old girl who was gang raped in Cleveland, Texas. The story was slanted in favor of everyone except the girl. The community that had been destroyed. The men and boys who raped her who would have to live with this for the rest of their lives. And the story was slanted against the little girl. It talked about a neighbor asking where her mother was and others talking about how she dressed older than her age. What century do we live in that a little girl is blamed for being raped by 18 men and boys? What country do we live in that this has occurred? And what has happened to the New York Times that it would publish a story like this? Many have said it reflects the rape culture we live in. Perhaps that is so. Regardless, I hold the New York Times accountable for its story. We all need to!

The second was a story about a 24-year old woman who has concocted a misuse and abuse of sexuality under the guise of therapy. She calls herself “The Naked Therapist.” She calls what she does “naked therapy.” She promises “power through arousal.” She is not trained or licensed as a psychotherapist. She calls her clients “patients” and charges them $150 an hour to seduce, titillate, and manipulate them into watching her undress, under the guise – the absurd, bizarre, unbelievable guise – of healing.

To add insult to injury, what is doing publishing an article that doesn’t expose this for what it is – abuse! Not only do they not censure what this woman does, they mention she is not licensed, they mention that professional therapy organizations would not approve of what she does, but they go on and talk about what she does . . . as though it’s okay. Really, their article titillates, which unfortunately in our world, sells stories. How very wounded a society is in which a story like this can be used to titillate and sell a product! I hold accountable for its story. We all need to.

This brings us right back to the beginning . . . if the media isn’t accountable for the stories it publishes, we need to hold them accountable.

If we don’t hold them accountable . . . what does that say about us? What does it say about what we need to heal in ourselves? What does it say about what we need to heal personally, individually, for our own lives and for the sake of our society?

© Judith Barr, 2011

A War Against Women . . .

When is a political campaign (and I don’t mean an election) a guise for accomplishing something far more sinister and far more dangerous than is claimed?

When seeming attempts to save unborn lives in the name of something holy are really a war on women.

When apparent efforts to prevent abortion in the name of protecting the lives of the unborn are, in actuality, purposeful, planned moves to take away women’s power .  .  . a war against women.

When men, and most tragically of all, other women themselves, are so afraid of the power women have birthed and claimed in recent times, that they are bound and determined to turn back the times and make women powerless . . . a war against women.

When men, and even women, collude, under the guise of goodness, to make women possessions again . . . possessions of their fathers, possessions of their husbands, possessions of their religions, possessions of the Divine as they perceive the Divine, women making themselves the possessions of others, even women treating themselves like possessions . . . a war against women.

When men, afraid of the growing power women have claimed, and even women themselves are afraid of their own power and the power of other women, and instead of supporting that power and working through their own fears, want to squash that power forever . . . in a war against women.

Wherever else this is happening in our world, it is also happening right now in the United States of America in 2011.

It is rising to bizarre proportions! Last week, there was a bill in Congress that , under the guise of taking action to prevent abortions, would have redefined rape to include only forcible rape . . . and to leave women powerless when they are violated in other ways – by date rape, by rape that occurs when a perpetrator drugs his victim, by rape while a woman is intoxicated or asleep, by rape perpetrated on underage females,by rape when a woman withdraws her consent, or by rape when a woman is trying not to be injured further or is trying to stay alive.

Whatever this bill looked like it was doing, H.R.3, The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act was, in truth, a war on women’s power, a war on women’s protection, a war on women’s access to help . . . a war against women!

And this bill was one single action in millions that have been taking place and that will continue to take place.

A terrorizing war . . . against women!
It’s like a daughter of an incest perpetrator who cuts her off from help in the family, isolates her from the outside world, threatens her loss of safety, threatens her daily survival — food, clothing, shelter, and medical help – squashes her voice, and most dangerous of all, puts on the face of kindness and goodness one minute, while stalking her silently and consistently, so that she is scared all the time.

I know that this is the backlash to the power women have been birthing, growing, and claiming. And I know a backlash was inevitable.  We need to take this seriously now!  This is a war against women.

If we are going to end this war against women, we – women and men alike – are going to need to do our own inner healing.  All of us are part of this, whether we want to know it, acknowledge it, feel it . . . or not!  This is no joke!  I don’t mean just by reading self help books or going to support groups or even a workshop here and there.  We are going to need to heal within us our own fears of being powerless, and also the places where we would take dangerous actions to crush someone else’s power because we are afraid.

There is much more that needs to be said, taught, and healed here than I can do in this short time and space.  I hope, though, that I have opened your eyes to see what is really occurring, opened your mind to help you think about the truth of what is happening, and opened your heart to say ‘yes’ to the healing you, yourself, need to do.  I also hope that you will pass this on to others . . .  whose eyes, minds, and hearts need to open.

Thank you and many blessings,
Judith Barr

(C) Judith Barr, 2011


As if there weren’t enough forces in our country and our world trying to get us to not feel . . .


Ourselves, utilizing our own defenses to keep from feeling pain from long, long ago, as well as pain from today or even experiencing anything today that might trigger the ancient pain.


Other people, who do the same thing to themselves, demeaning, ridiculing, attacking, abandoning us when we do feel. Our families, employers-employees-coworkers. Our doctors, lawyers, teachers, agents, coaches, spiritual representatives.


Alcohol, street drugs, and pharmaceutical drugs and the companies and people who manufacture and sell them.  (If we were supported to feel our feelings and had built the capacity to do that, we wouldn’t believe we needed mind altering drugs to numb us against those feelings.) The military that wants its members to be strong and unemotional to the point of giving them propranalol to harden their defenses against the feelings that get stirred up in them by the horrors of war.  (If they weren’t hardened against the feelings, they would feel the horror and perhaps we’d finally find an alternative to war!)


Politicians, who appeal to the very emotions, like fear, that we try to bury and hold at bay and then use those feelings they have stirred up to their own advantage. (If we were not afraid of feeling our feelings, and if we were taught to discern which ones are here and now feelings and which are feelings from our childhood that have been triggered by something or someone in the current time . . . we wouldn’t be so needlessly vulnerable to politicians, or anyone using our own vulnerability against us.) Scientific studies that can be skewed to prove anything.


And the media . . . in so many different ways.


Last week, on a well known television show, a show I often appreciate, they did a story on tears.


In the story, under the guise of humor, under the guise of “science,” with a demeaning story title – The Crying Game – and under the guise of scientific backup – they did a story on “male aversion to female tears.”
 A study in Israel asserts that the impact on men exposed to the imperceptible scent of women’s tears is that the exposure lowers men’s testosterone levels and causes the parts of their brain that register sexual arousal to be less active. In short, the study found that imperceptible signals given off by our bodies are perceived unconsciously by others  . . . something  proven time and again. Perhaps if we truly knew ourselves and our natures, we would understand that upon witnessing the woman he loves crying,  and unconsciously perceiving the natural chemical signals she’s giving off, not only a man’s feeling self, but also his physical self receives the signal that she needs him to care, comfort, and communicate with her, not to be sexual with her, and responds accordingly.


Rather than emphasizing the actual findings of the study . . .  the media report of this study instead chose to make a conclusion not even remotely asserted by the study: that a women’s tears “annoy” men.
Thank goodness for a famous sex therapist, who talked with the reporter and told him that when his wife cries, she (the sex therapist) wanted him to ask ‘what’s the matter?’ And ‘can I help?’ and not to worry if his penis was erect! She didn’t want men to draw the wrong conclusion, using the study to prove that there’s science backing up why men are annoyed when their wives cry.


But the damage had already been done . . . The supposed lightness and humor with which the story was told was easy, ‘comfort’ food for those men who don’t take responsibility for themselves and their own feelings:  that the reason they’re annoyed is not from a drop in testosterone, but rather because of their discomfort with their own vulnerable feelings, or that some wound from long ago is triggered when their wife cries. 
And it was easy food for those women who are “trained” to please their husbands and so will try to keep from crying in the future . . . or who will use their husbands’ so-called “natural annoyance” as an excuse to keep defending against their own painful feelings.


And not only did the show degrade women’s tears, but at the very end, it degraded men’s tears, too, asking ‘What impact does it have on women when men cry?’ and saying it’s particularly relevant with our ‘weepy’ new Speaker of the House.


Look at this just one example of what we do to each other and ourselves …. Degrading women’s tears and degrading men’s tears. Degrading our vulnerability! Our real vulnerability . . . something I, as a depth psychotherapist, spend many hours, many weeks, many years working to help people rediscover and reclaim!


Look around us ….

People numbing themselves, unable to feel, unable to connect with themselves behind their walls and beneath their masks.


Without our feelings, and without allowing them and exploring them, we become automatons. And then we raise our children from those robotic modes. And we criticize and demean them for their feelings  . . . for crying as babies, for expressing hurt and fear and even anger. And we never help them build their capacity to feel.  So they grow up, not treasuring their real vulnerability, in fact afraid of it. So they grow up unnecessarily vulnerable to all the forces trying to get us not to feel.
Here’s the vicious cycle!


What have we done to our world?

How are we going to save our world?
By healing and safely feeling so we can rediscover and reclaim our true needed vulnerability.


© Judith Barr 2011


Recently, I read an article on* that explored the use of birth control to suppress a woman’s monthly period…and the startling fact that 72% of women said they “did not like having a period” and  40% of women would prefer never to have one!  And now birth control pills are being utilized to avoid our periods almost completely. 

My heart cried out as I read this article, and the words of women quoted in it who, consciously or unconsciously, thought of their periods as a curse or a burden. In response, I wrote the post below, in the hope that it will put some perspective on the sacredness of menstruation, and why our monthly period is so crucial . . .

In a world where misogyny is rampant . . .
In a world where, even with the advances women have made, women are still treated horribly . . .
In a world where, perhaps because of the fear of the advances women have made, women are being treated worse than ever . . .
In a world where, if the abusive, cruel treatment of women were done to Jews, African Americans, Gays, or some other minority, the actions would be called hate crimes and prosecuted . . .
For women to suppress their menstrual bleeding, a natural part of their being, a crucial part of their innate, inborn power . . .
is tantamount to colluding with the patriarchal attempts to discount, diminish,  control, and have power over women.  It is the equivalent of an alcoholic’s spouse enabling or colluding with the alcoholic.

A woman’s period is not simply the mechanism through which she is able to conceive and give birth to human babies. It is also the cycle that helps a woman be truly connected to herself — her body, her mind, her heart, and her own soul — and to root herself more and more deeply with her own instincts, her own knowings, her own strength and courage, her own gifts. 

To suppress or give that up . . . is to give herself and her inner power away!

To suppress or give that up . . . is to be seduced into believing her menstrual bleeding is a curse.
Or at the very least to not have been taught the powerful truth about the immense possibilities of menstruation  . . .
by a mother who grew up believing her period was a curse.

To suppress or give that up . . . is to give herself and her inner power away!

This is not just a personal choice and action. This is a communal choice and action and a political choice and action.

We will be shocked and horrified, if we continue this blind trend, by the dire consequences of our actions  –
in the actions of men toward us, in the actions of other women toward us, in our actions toward other women, 
and in our actions toward ourselves.

Who will help us if we continue?
Who will help us if we don’t help ourselves?


NOTE: If you would like to learn more . . . here are four sources I can recommend. The first three are books, the fourth is an audio cassette: The Wild Genie, Alexandra Pope; Her Blood Is Gold, Lara Owen; Mysteries of the Dark Moon, Demetra George; The Call of My Blood Mysteries, Judith Barr

(c) Judith Barr, 2010