Bird’s Eye: The Hanna Rosin piece has occasioned much debate, and her core thesis, that women are displacing men in domestic and commercial power positions, is worth exploring. Other kinds of power, sexual power or lack thereof, are explored in two fascinating memoirs. And a one page scan of the Kama Sutra, 1944 edition, offers a hilarious spin on academic power and sexuality.
* Hanna Rosin: Are Men An Endangered Species? The Observer
In the late 1970s, he leased the [male/female sperm separation] method to clinics around the United States, calling it the first scientifically proved method for choosing the sex of a child.
Feminists of the era did not take kindly to Ericsson and his sperminator. “You have to be concerned about the future of all women,” said Roberta Steinbacher, a nun turned social psychologist, in a 1984 People profile of Ericsson. Given the “universal preference for sons”, she foresaw a dystopia of mass-produced boys that would lock women into second-class status while men continued to dominate positions of control and influence. “I think women have to ask themselves, ‘Where does this stop?’ “ she said. “A lot of us wouldn’t be here right now if these practices had been in effect years ago.”
Ericsson laughed when I read him these quotes from his old antagonist. Seldom has it been so easy to prove a dire prediction wrong. In the 1990s, when Ericsson looked into the numbers for the two dozen or so clinics that use his process, he discovered, to his surprise, that couples were requesting more girls than boys. The gap has persisted, even though Ericsson advertises the method as more effective for producing boys. In some clinics, he has said, the ratio of preference is now as high as two to one.
Polling data on Americans’ sex preference in offspring is sparse and does not show a clear preference for girls. But the picture from the doctor’s office unambiguously does. A newer method for sperm selection, called MicroSort, is currently awaiting clinical approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The girl requests for that method run at about 75%. The women who call Ericsson’s clinic these days come right out and say: “I want a girl”; they no longer beat around the bush. “These mothers look at their lives and think their daughters will have a bright future their mother and grandmother didn’t have, brighter than their sons, even,” says Ericsson, “so why wouldn’t you choose a girl?” He sighs and marks the passing of an era. “Did male dominance exist? Of course it existed. But it seems to be gone now. And the era of the first-born son is totally gone.”
* The World of a Professional Naked Girl Molly Cabapple VICE
…“Marilyn Monroe could turn it on and off,” Z told me. “You can’t.”
Turning it on and off was something I thought about when I was lying naked in a warehouse in the Bronx, surrounded by hard-boiled eggs. The man photographing me adamantly denied having an egg fetish. After the shoot was over, he’d offer them to me to bring home and eat. I was broke enough to say yes.
I was 20. I’d been working as a naked model for two years. Back in the early aughts, there was a flourishing semi-legit business for girls like me, based off Craigslist and OneModelPlace. Girls too short, fat or plain to be legit models, unwilling to give the “fuck you” to convention it takes to be in legit porn, would pose for amateur photographers. We called them GWCs, or Guys with Cameras. They paid 100 bucks an hour.
We showed up in their hotel rooms. We posed on their beds. We told each other who was a good guy and who was a sociopath, knowing full well that if a GWC raped us, the police would do nil. A girl I knew was working as a bondage model. The photographer threatened to kill her. She wept. He let her go. When she went to the police, they shrugged her off. The photographer later murdered a model.
Surrounded by eggs and soft boxes, I was doing my best to escape the trajectory of art school-retail-professional failure that, as a broke student at a bad school, I was marked out for. I wanted to make money fast, shove it into my business and then get out of here. I was young, which meant I had nothing to interest people with besides my looks. While those held out, I wanted to use them to get other, more versatile trading tokens.
* “I Was A Sex Surrogate” Salon
That job was one of the great honours of my life. I felt self-conscious being naked, at times, but it was a nakedness we shared, and since the focus was always placed back on them and their bodies, it didn’t last long. I wasn’t myself with them so much as I was “everywoman” – they could tell me things they’d shared with no other woman and not be shamed: I was their bridge between a hopeful new beginning sexually and the women in their lives with whom they’d be returning to renewed.
* The First Page of my 1944 Copy of the Kama Sutra via reddit