What happens when you invite a TV reporter to a Dungeon Party?

11/05/12 0 COMMENTS

by Hardy Haberman | May 9, 2012
(Go to the Bottom of page for Mistress Eva’s Comment!)

What happens when you invite a TV reporter to a dungeon play party? You end up on TV and in the middle of a real media circus.

In Detroit, a reporter for the NBC affiliate, WDIV got invited to a local play party as he was investigating a murder. The suspect in the case was a participant in the BDSM community, but the murder was not BDSM related and in fact may be a murder for hire committed by a third party. The story is still developing, but the damage to the local BDSM scene has already happened.

The report which played last night on Detroit TV had little to do with the murder or the suspect other than to lean heavily on his involvement with BDSM. The majority of the piece was blurry video with lurid descriptions of the activities that take place at the party. Now to those in the community, these are almost commonplace, but when sensationalized, and in this case really sensationalized it seems dangerous and scary, especially to vanilla folk.

To make things worse the report gave the address of the party, a local VFW hall. All the footage of the event was shot with a hidden camera, so the participants did not know they were being filmed. Luckily the TV station blurred out all the faces but to the participants it must have felt like a violation of their privacy, and it was just that.

The report added no new information to the story of the suspect murder and was designed specifically to scare people with the “debauchery” going on in the peaceful suburban neighborhood. Never mind the fact that this party has been happening on a regular basis for a long time with no complaints, it is great stuff for ratings and TV news is all about ratings.

Now lots of people who attended that party are frightened, perhaps more than the viewers who saw the shadowy figures and blurred video on TV. They are afraid of being “outed” as kinky. Sadly in this country “kinky” is not a protected class and often people lose their families and jobs by being exposed.

The fears of the BDSM community in Detroit may be unfounded, but the hubbub this incident has caused should give people a few valuable lessons. If you are not “out” as kinky, then you need to make sure any event you attend is really a private party. That means invited folk only and/or all participants have signed some sort of release that assures they are not offended by the activities taking place and agree not to photograph or reveal names and identities of any other attendees. These are pretty standard at most play parties, but apparently in Detroit they were not used.

Secondly, do not invite the press to a play party! News folk look for sensational images, specifically TV journalists and whips and crosses make for sensational images, even if the reality of a play party is far from the imagined images vanilla people might have in their minds. Additionally, once the press splashes something like this all over peoples TV screens, some folks will complain to local authorities and next thing you know, the police are visiting any event that looks remotely out of the norm. In most cases what we do in a dungeon might not be illegal, but police will arrest first and ask questions later. I would not be surprised if a wave of “vice” operations followed closely on the heels of this report in Detroit.

The unintended consequences of this might be very severe for some people and that is what makes this even worse.

Now, to be honest, most cities have some kind of BDSM activity going on, and the police and authorities are not blind to it. I have spoken with law enforcement people about this and to a great extent their attitude is, if no one is getting hurt and there is not any prostitution going on they have bigger fish to fry. The difference in Detroit may be the murder investigation and just how much involvement BDSM may play in the crime. My suspicion is it is completely tangential, but that is for the police and courts to find out.

Meanwhile, kinky folk in Detroit should take a deep breath and then use some common sense next time they get an inquiry from a reporter about attending a party.

We don’t want to scare the Muggles!

http://www.woodhullalliance.org/2012/sex-and-politics/detroit-dungeon-party-taped-on-hidden-camera-by-tv-station/

Mistress Eva: I am on a BDSM/Fetish Social Network called Fetlife.com and this incident has spread through the site like wild fire. When you go to a public Dungeon party, you are trusting the venue to be discreet. You are trusting the other kinky people there to keep the location and going ons secret. Most of the time it works.

A local Dungeon near me does not allow cellphones or cameras inside the premises for this very reason. If a camera is used, there are rules about only showing the folks who want the picture taken. You must get permission from the owners of the Dungeon. Usually the Dungeon owner takes the photo too. They want you to feel safe and comfortable enough to play and have a good time.

First of all, the Owners of the Dungeon who gave the reporter permission to be there was out of their mind! Did they really think they would produce a fair story in the Dungeon’s favor? Reporters are always looking for a story with shock value and this reporter got it! They got this juicy video and ran with it.

I truly feel sorry for the Dungeon and the people filmed. Yes their faces were altered but their tattoos weren’t. People in their local scene could still recognize people in the video. So they were still outed. Also the address of the Dungeon was posted too. I have since heard that they closed the Dungeon. Some folks filmed have dropped out of the scene. Its just really sad.

So in the future, I will only be going to Dungeons who require no cameras or cell phones. Also ones who NEVER invite the media. Its just never a good idea!

North Carolina Bans Gay Marriage.

09/05/12 0 COMMENTS

I think its very pathetic when complete strangers can decide who I marry. This world need healing and all the love than it can get. This just made me angry and sad. I voted against this along with a bunch of kinky folk in the NC BDSM scene.

Tonight President Obama said he was in favor of Gay Marriage. I wish he had announced this BEFORE the North Carolina election!

Mistress Eva

Porn Stars vs Rick Santorum

07/04/12 0 COMMENTS

Every Day is a Wank off day but make May 1st special.

I will be taking calls! As always, just 99 Cent per minute!

1-800-863-5478 ext: 9439577 or
Call Button

Calling Mr. Mom

26/10/10 0 COMMENTS

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/magazine/24fob-wwln-t.html?emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

October 21, 2010
Calling Mr. Mom?

By LISA BELKIN

You could easily compile statistics to make the case that women — at
least Western women — are already empowered. In the United States, we
are 50 percent of the workplace (and 51.4 percent of managerial and
professional jobs). We receive three college degrees for every two
earned by men (along with 60 percent of all master’s degrees, about
half of all law and medical degrees and 43 percent of M.B.A.’s).
Working wives are coming close to bringing in nearly half the
household income. Single, childless urban women under 30 actually earn
8 percent more than their male peers.

But all this evidence isn’t particularly persuasive to the one group
that should know: women. After all, you could compile a whole other
set of figures that show just how far from empowered we are. Start
with the Government Accountability Office study last month, which
found that professional women still make 81 cents for every dollar a
man makes in a similar job. Then count the women in the corner suites
and the highest-paying professions. (It won’t take you long: women
currently make up only 3 percent of Fortune 500 C.E.O.’s.) And women
still perform twice the housework and three times the child care that
men do, even in homes where women are the primary breadwinners.

Telling women they have reached parity is like telling an unemployed
worker the recession is over. It isn’t true until it feels true.
That’s because measuring women’s power by looking only at women — and
by looking mostly at the workplace — paints a false picture.

Men today are at the turning point women reached several decades ago,
when the joint demands of work and home first intensified. In her new
book, “Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter,”
Joan C. Williams describes how men find themselves caught between
meeting cultural expectations and a growing dissatisfaction with the
constricted roles shaped by those expectations. “You have to ask why,
if women are asking men to change, and if men say they want change, it
hasn’t happened,” she says. “Either they are all lazy, or they are
under tremendous gender pressures of their own.”

The life-work dilemma for women has long been that “the workplace has
changed in their favor, but home hasn’t,” she says. Men, however,
“have the opposite problem. More is expected of them at home, but
expectations have not shifted at work.” Which explains why the
percentage of fathers in dual-income households who say they suffer
work-family conflict has risen to 59 percent from 35 percent since 1977.

Younger couples say they want and expect parity in their
relationships. But many women still carry a chip on their shoulders,
chiseled in part by years of keeping all those to-do lists in their
heads. And if men can find no relief from the pressures of work, they
are not going to be able to fit into the revamped economy of home.

How then to inch toward change? Can we make it “manly” (or even
better, “gender neutral”) to spend a day with a child, or earn less
money but have more family time, or be the only parent at a parent-
teacher conference because your wife has a meeting? “If long hours are
really about proving ‘whose is bigger,’ you can have flex policies
until the sun sets and men won’t use them,” Williams says.

Indeed, where flex policies are offered, American men don’t use them
as much as American women do. In California, one of two states in the
country to provide paid parental leave (or “bonding leave”) for both
parents, 74 percent of new mothers took the new benefit compared with
26 percent of new fathers. This is, to be sure, an improvement over
the 17 percent who took it when the program was first introduced in
2004-2005. (It is also significantly higher than the percentage of
French men who take time off. French law allows both parents to take a
leave or to work reduced hours until their child is 3, but 97 percent
of those who do so are women.) It’s better than it used to be, but
it’s far from equal.

There are some practical reasons for these discrepancies. Biology
dictates that many women will take pauses during the prime career-
building years that men don’t need to take. Similarly, breast-feeding
during the first month to year of life means a child necessarily
spends more time with the mother. Often, though, what look like causes
are really effects — we make assumptions about sex roles and then
reinforce them with our behavior. If you challenge those assumptions,
it follows that you can change behavior. Which explains what happened
in Sweden.

Today the Swedes have one of the world’s most forward-thinking
parental leave policies, but it took years of tweaking before men took
substantial time off to care for children. Starting in 1974, couples
were given six months of paid leave to divide in any way they chose.
Women consistently used more of the time than men; in fact, only 4
percent of fathers took any leave at all. In 1995, however, a month of
fathers-only leave was introduced, and in 2002, another month of
“daddy leave” was added, bringing the total to 480 days. If men don’t
take the leave before their child turns 8, they lose the days. Now
about 80 percent of Swedish dads take at least some time off.

By steering men toward a particular path, Sweden redefined the nature
of choice. Parental leave was transformed from a way to escape the
world of work into a way to maximize the benefits available to
families; from an emotional decision to a financial one; from
something mothers do to something every parent does. Would that same
kind of redefinition — of the relationship between work and home, of
the roles of men and women — work on this side of the Atlantic? In at
least one case, it already has.

Four years ago, the now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers wanted a flextime
policy but worried about the mommy-track stigma attached. They looked
for a way to make flextime gender neutral by giving it a clear
business purpose. Workers were asked to participate in a pilot program
to create a telecommuting infrastructure in case a terrorist attack or
natural disaster crippled its Manhattan headquarters. Men who didn’t
stay home to take care of children began to do so when it became a
matter of national security.

Empowering American women can no longer focus only on women — on
leveling playing fields or offering mothers “on-ramps” and “offramps”
or shattering ceilings one at a time. All those efforts must continue,
yes. But none will succeed if we don’t change our expectations for
men. Or, more accurately, men’s expectations for themselves.

Lisa Belkin is a contributing writer and the author of the Motherlode
blog.

Lesson Learned: Dont be a Professor and a Phone Dominatrix!

02/10/10 7 COMMENTS

In Professor-Dominatrix Scandal, U. of New Mexico Feels the Pain
By Peter Schmidt

Lisa D. Chávez, an associate professor who moonlighted as a phone-sex worker, was not found to have violated any university policies. She remains at the center of a controversy over faculty governance and professors’ obligations to protect students.

Lisa D. Chávez, an associate professor who moonlighted as a phone-sex worker, was not found to have violated any university policies. She remains at the center of a controversy over faculty governance and professors’ obligations to protect students.

In some ways, working as a phone-sex dominatrix is a lot simpler than being on a college faculty. Your relationship with others is clearly defined, no one formally complains about anything you say to them, and you stand little risk of getting caught up in messy struggles over power.

It gets complicated, however, if you try to do both jobs.

Life has become extremely complex in the University of New Mexico’s English department in the three years since Lisa D. Chávez, a tenured associate professor, was discovered moonlighting as the phone-sex dominatrix “Mistress Jade,” and posing in promotional pictures sexually dominating one of her own graduate students.

Although she quickly quit the phone-sex job, admitted to a serious lapse of judgment, and was not found by the university’s administration to have violated any law or policy, Ms. Chávez remains at the center of a bitter controversy that has raised questions about faculty governance, the obligations of professors to protect students, and the exact definition of a hostile workplace in an environment of shifting sexual mores.

Several members of the English department accuse Ms. Chávez of abusing her power over students, and allege that the administration retaliated against professors who complained about her extracurricular activities. They also say that the university administration violated a basic principle of shared governance by not entrusting the investigation of Ms. Chávez to a faculty ethics committee.

For her part, Ms. Chávez has accused her accusers, in complaints to the university and the state, of discriminating against her because she is bisexual and Hispanic.

Sharon Oard Warner, Ms. Chávez’s boss in the creative-writing program, has sued the university, claiming it retaliated against her for pursuing complaints against Ms. Chávez. Teddy Warner, a psychologist at the university and Ms. Warner’s husband, also sued.

The department has been riven by resignations, as well as by three faculty members’ lawsuits, still pending, that stem from the controversy. Many faculty members complain that they now work in a deteriorating atmosphere, which is taking its toll on students.

Gaining Experience
Graduate students in the department were the first to take on phone-sex work, about five years ago. They found it locally at People Exchanging Power, an Albuquerque-based company that offers people with various sexual fetishes a support network, phone-sex services, and opportunities to rendezvous with some of its employees in real life.

The students found it easy to talk about such work with Ms. Chávez. The professor, 48, takes pride in having close friendships with graduate students, often inviting them to her house for parties students characterize as fairly raucous. “I have been told repeatedly since all of this happened that I am stepping over boundaries by being friends with students,” Ms. Chávez says. “And I don’t think that is true—especially in creative writing, where we end up knowing students so well just through their writing.”

When students brought up phone-sex work in her classes, Ms. Chávez, who describes herself as “a pro-sex feminist,” spoke approvingly of how empowering such jobs were, of how the students had found a great way to gain outside income and life experience they could draw upon as writers.

In February 2007, Ms. Chávez quietly took a job herself at People Exchanging Power. She says she had just gotten divorced, was having trouble making her mortgage payments, and viewed working for the service, which paid more than $40 per hour, as a great way to earn money in her spare time and gather material for her fiction. Working under the Mistress Jade pseudonym, she fielded calls dispatched to her home but, she says, did not meet personally with clients. Her advertisement on the company’s Web site asked potential callers: “Do you want a biker bitch, an imperious goddess, or a stern teacher ready to punish unruly students?”

Liz Derrington, a 27-year-old graduate student in the creative-writing program who was going through a divorce herself, went to work for People Exchanging Power at about the same time. “The pay was good—it was far better than waiting tables or anything like that,” she says.

Ms. Chávez and Ms. Derrington ran into each other at the service and agreed to be photographed simulating sadomasochistic sex acts. A former New Mexico graduate student employed there also appeared in the photos, which were accompanied by captions that used vulgar and degrading terms.

In the meantime, a few of Ms. Chávez’s students complained to other faculty members in the department that they felt uncomfortable about the sexually charged conversations in her class. One professor, Diane M. Thiel, says she took these concerns to David R. Jones, then the English-department chairman, but he “seemed unconcerned.” (Mr. Jones has categorically denied Ms. Thiel’s allegations over his handling of the matter.)

In July 2007, some of the photos of Ms. Chávez landed on the desk of Mr. Jones, attached to a note signed “appalled parents.” He asked Sharon Oard Warner, a professor of English and Ms. Chávez’s boss as the creative-writing program’s director, to check the People Exchanging Power site on her home computer to determine if any of the program’s students were involved.

Accusing Accusers
In fact, there were several current or former students pictured on the Web site. Among them was Carrie Cutler, a 33-year-old graduate student who had worked for the company before Ms. Chávez took a job there. Ms. Cutler, who remains in the creative-writing program, says she had hoped that taking phone-sex work, which she had heard Ms. Chávez praise in class, would not only help her pay bills but help her remedy Ms. Chávez’s complaints that her writing was not dark or edgy enough. She says she quit after growing tired of being on the phone at all hours and dealing with prank callers or people who asked for things she felt uncomfortable providing.

Ms. Warner says she passed information about the student and faculty involvement in the company to Mr. Jones. When Mr. Jones then confronted Ms. Chávez, she told him she had considered the outside work partially as research for her writing. But she nonetheless quit the outside job and asked the company to remove her photos from its Web site.

In a document filed in connection with one of her own discrimination complaints, which have been dismissed, Ms. Chávez says Mr. Jones told her that Ms. Cutler was the origin of the accusations against her. The document shows Ms. Chávez raised concerns at that time about Ms. Cutler’s mental stability, telling others that “the student who originally started all this had serious mental-health issues, was actively trying to hurt me and my career, and was, perhaps, a danger to me and others.” But, her discrimination complaint continued, no one at the university took her concerns seriously.

Several faculty members and students in the program say Ms. Chávez later spread word that Ms. Cutler had had a psychotic breakdown that fall and had been threatening to murder fellow students. Ms. Derrington, for one, appeared to take these warnings about her fellow graduate student seriously. She requested that an armed university police officer be present in the room when she defended her dissertation.

Ms. Cutler denies ever having had any sort of breakdown, and several students and faculty members who knew her during this period say she appeared fine. Ms. Chávez, in an e-mail, declined to comment on her interactions with Ms. Cutler.

Widened Scrutiny
Soon after the “appalled parent” letter arrived, the university began to look into the matter, first to see if Ms. Chávez had crossed any lines, but then to see if her colleagues had been out of line in their dealings with her.

The investigation started with the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity, which asked various people involved if Ms. Chávez had created a hostile learning environment for her students.

But in a confidential e-mail sent to Ms. Warner in early October 2007, Mr. Jones said that the university’s president, David J. Schmidly, had decided to call off that investigation, and to hire an outside lawyer to conduct a different one altogether. The subject was not Ms. Chávez’s treatment of graduate students, but the conduct of people in the English department as a whole. Ms. Chávez, it appeared, had gone on the offensive, threatening defamation lawsuits against faculty members who, she alleged, were falsely accusing her of engaging in outright prostitution and being romantically involved with a student, Ms. Derrington. She filed a discrimination complaint with the university in which she accused Ms. Warner of having it out for her because she is Hispanic.

In late November 2007, university administrators announced the completion of the investigation. It concluded that Ms. Chávez had exercised bad judgment but did not find her guilty of allegations of maintaining a hostile learning environment, sexual harassment, or other illegal activity or violations of policy that suggested she was unfit for her job. Faculty members who had raised concerns about Ms. Chávez were urged by administrators to enter into mediation with her.

One of them was Gregory Martin, an associate professor of English. In a court document, Mr. Martin says Brenda Claiborne, dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, subsequently warned faculty members that if they continued to demand action be taken against Ms. Chávez, they could face negative consequences, including lawsuits for slander or a decision by the university to abolish the entire creative-writing program.

The warning did not deter them. In February 2008, 14 tenured faculty members in the English department signed a letter to Richard Holder, the university’s deputy provost for academic affairs, urging the administration to let a faculty committee investigate Ms. Chávez’s conduct. The signers, who included Mr. Martin and Ms. Warner, said her actions raised “serious ethical questions” regarding “abuse of academic freedom and the professional ethics that must govern the relationship of a professor and her student.” It said the creative-writing program “has been harmed and continues to be harmed.”

Soon after, Ms. Chávez filed a discrimination complaint with the state alleging that the accusations against her stemmed from bias based on her being Hispanic and bisexual.

Refusals to Surrender
Provost Holder refused to hand the matter over to a faculty panel for adjudication. In a letter to those who request he do so, he characterized the investigation of Ms. Chávez as thorough, and said he had heard from many other faculty members who attributed the deteriorating atmosphere in the creative-writing program “not to the underlying situation but to the persistence of some in pursuing this matter.”

And there was persistence. The faculty members appealed Mr. Holder’s decision to President Schmidly and the acting provost, Viola Florez, but they stood behind Mr. Holder.

Then came the reaction: Resignation and lawsuits. Joy Harjo, a prominent American Indian poet who had signed the letter to Mr. Holder, quit the faculty, saying she did not feel comfortable working where she could not protect her students. Ms. Warner resigned as the creative-writing program’s director, saying she already been implicitly stripped of her authority and her job had become “untenable.” Her resignation letter said, “Evidently, university administrators are more concerned about spurious threats of litigation than about protecting the learning and working environment.”

Ms. Warner filed a lawsuit against the university last year. She claims that her efforts to pursue complaints against Ms. Chávez led to her being subjected to administrative threats and various acts of administrative retaliation, including an unusual financial audit of a writing conference she oversees and rejection when she later sought to become chair of the English department. Her lawsuit accuses Mr. Jones of keeping those investigating Ms. Chávez in the dark by failing to pass on to them the incriminating photos from People Exchanging Power’s Web site.

A separate lawsuit has been filed by Ms. Warner’s husband, Teddy D. Warner, a psychologist at the university’s medical school. He contends that he suffered a pay cut and was denied a promised private office in retaliation for his wife’s activities. The university had denied the couple’s allegations.

A third lawsuit was filed by Ms. Thiel, the creative-writing professor whose work relationship with Ms. Chávez had been poor even before the phone-sex imbroglio. Ms. Thiel alleges that she was subjected to a hostile work environment by Mr. Jones, Ms. Chávez, and other faculty members in connection with the whole controversy. The university has asked the court to dismiss Ms. Thiel’s lawsuit on technical grounds, saying it was filed in the wrong venue because she lives in a different judicial district.

The conduct of Mr. Jones factors heavily in the lawsuits filed by Ms. Warner and Ms. Thiel, even though the university as a whole is the named defendant. In an e-mail, he defended his conduct. “I stand by all my actions in that troubled time, actions intended to protect the rights and safety of a number of students and faculty members, including Warner and Thiel, when we all found ourselves in an extraordinary situation.”

Although Ms. Chávez also is not named as a defendant in the lawsuits, she says she seems “to be the target of those in a lot of ways,” given how they focus on the university’s refusal to punish her. Although she continues to teach and advise students, she says the stress she has suffered as a result of the controversy “has put a real damper on my writing.”

Julie Y. Shigekuni, a professor of English who now directs the creative-writing program, says she is trying to keep the program on course despite the controversy. “It becomes complicated, because I think that lawsuits, and the kind of climate of antagonism and fear that is brought by lawsuits, creates unpredictability,” she says. “Students are uncertain about how the program is functioning and about the future of the program.”

Ms. Derrington, who has graduated from the program, likewise would like to put the whole controversy behind her—not because she feels any shame for her phone-sex work, but because people misunderstand what it involved, and she fears she will have trouble finding academic work as a result of it. In the Internet age, however, she is not optimistic about escaping this chapter of her past.

“If you Google me,” she says, “this whole issue is the first thing that comes up.”

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